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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Mentalism almost seems limiting (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Ulrich
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Happy Birthday Lord Cassidy!

Well my opinion is, that in these times, when James Randi exposed every psychic ever attended his contest (as far as I know), many people noticed that, and actually started to feel negative about psychics. The same thing with the TV Show "The Mentalist", where Patrick Jane is saying almost in every episode, that what he was doing was fake and unreal, and that it was bad.

Don't get me wrong, I love psychics premise, I do believe psychics have a power to affect spectators very deeply and positively, that is why I admire and respect psychic community. I'm never saying that one approach is better than the other.

On the other hand, if laymen wants to be entertained, I naturally presume, that they won't be affected on such a deep level, as they would be if they would believe in psychics. Are we talking about bizarre magic or psychics?

Blessings
Ulrich
morgaine_le_fey
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Thanks sweety!
xxx
AlJones
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Agree with Bob - no its not about making anyone believe anything....

But my current thinking is that it's about extending belief than suspending dis-belief. Maybe its only semantics, but it feels different to me. It is for this reason I think carefully about the apparent 'skills' I demonstrate in anyone program - it is 'me' playing with the skills I'd like to possess. Maybe it's about magicians do the 'impossible' and mentalists do the 'improbable'. All with the aim of creating moments of wonder in the framework of the entertainers presentation.

Alan
Ed_Millis
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Quote:
Besides, the point isn't to make anyone believe, it's simply to make them wonder as part of an entertaining experience.

Quote:
All with the aim of creating moments of wonder in the framework of the entertainers presentation.


Yes!!!!!!!!

But then, to restate my original question, if several routines conclude with reading the paper or turning over the card to prove that was already known, is that a consistent demonstration of the performer's premise? Can that be made entertaining three or four or five times in a single show? Or is that just a boring and unimaginative performer who's not ready for prime time? A magician can make cards (or coins, or what have you) dance around the basic premise of "you select it and I'll find it" and keep people entertained through several routines. Can a good mentalist weave different scenarios around the same basic premise of "you think it and I'll show you"? Or does that get boring in iteself? (I know a bad performer can make ~anything~ boring!!)

Ed
mastermindreader
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Ed. Most everything I do uses billets, pads and writing implements. But every routine looks completely different and is NOT the same thing, over and over again.

Read my book! Smile
cpbartak
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I really don't get this thinking at all. I never have gone to a concert and criticized someone for using the same instrument throughout their set and playing the same genre of music, too. the songs vary in pacing, mood, theme. I've never criticized a superhero in a movie because all he does is run fast over and over. The more "things" you do, the less you have a character or persona that people can understand and then learn to identify with. Good mentalism is character, not effect, driven. whenever someone just focuses on showing off all the completely different things they do, they just come across to me like a performing monkey hoping to capture someone's attention.
Some people hear voices.. Some see invisible people.. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
sandsjr
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Ed, I think you need to get out and see some GOOD mentalists at work. A lot of your questions will be answered then! A good mentalist will have people talking to themselves when they leave the room... having been thoroughly entertained, intrigued, mystified and so on. This type of experience is not soon forgotten by anyone watching.

Yes there are some very boring mentalists just like there are plenty of very boring magicians. Don't be distracted by that. See someone really good before you make up your mind.

With regards to your question, I think the idea of several routines concluding with "reading a paper" or "turning over a card" is not something that happens in a good show.

Like Mindpro always try's to hammer home, mentalism isn't magic. It's a beautiful art form all it's own and requires lots and lots of time and experience if you want to be GOOD at it.

If you can't get out to see some shows I'll suggest again, pick up Bob's Mental Miracles DVD. Learn the Name Place routine to start. One routine! It shouldn't require a ton of work. Then, go out and do it and see for yourself how powerful it is!!! That experience will tell you right on the spot whether or not mentalism is for you. I have a strong suspicion it will be! Smile

Hope this helps.

NOTE: We were all responding at the same time so sorry for any duplicated comments
Ed_Millis
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Gentlemen, I thank you for putting up with my uneducated questioning. As soon as possible, I've got a book and DVD to digest. (And Billet Killers to watch several more times!)

Cheers!
Ed
sandsjr
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Good luck Ed. You're in for a treat. Keep us posted.
AlJones
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Yes Ed, Good Luck...

Re the advice on Bob's DVD - Mental Miracles - the act he presents is pacy and his comments on the structure are well worth taking to heart. Every effect on the DVD is a worker. At the end of the day I think a magician can be interesting because of what he or she does - whereas a mentalist has to be interesting because of who they are (or present). I think Marc Salem has said that as a mentalist you have to be interested in everything since knowledge and information about the world and the people in it is one of our (mentalists) biggest resource.

For back ground look outside of the world of the performer and consider the work of Eckman (body language and micro expressions) or Bandler and Grnder (NLP) or Carl Sagan or Sylvia Plath or ... (getting obscure now) - the point is menatalism is about people and peoples reactions and not simply about knowing what card they've picked or what city they are thinking of ..... moreover people are interested in themselves so mentalists have the breadth of the human condition to explore.

Go for it ..... and enjoy the journey

Alan
Waters
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Rather than worrying about using the same few methods over and over, focus on what ability you are presenting and think of engaging (read: entertaining, evocative , intriguing) presentations. As Bob said, read his book. Keep in mind, to be effective in mentalism you may be limiting yourself on purpose (not feeling limited).

Best Regards,

Sean
kinesis
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Quote:
On Jun 20, 2014, Ed_Millis wrote:

...But mentalism seems to keep coming back to the same basic premises: I (or someone else) already knew that, I (or you if I empower you) can move or bend that, or both of us (or you) can think the same thing. It strikes me almost like how many different ways there are to lose and find a card - but it's basically the same...



Fitzkie identified 19 basic effects the last 6 are mentalism related so I've omitted them...

1. Production (Appearance, creation, multiplication)
2. Vanish (Disappearance, obliteration)
3. Transposition (Change in location)
4. Transformation (Change in appearance, character or identity)
5. Penetration (One solid through another)
6. Restoration (Making the destroyed whole)
7. Animation (Movement imparted to the inanimate)
8. Anti-Gravity (Levitation and change in weight)
9. Attraction (Mysterious adhesion)
10. Sympathetic Reaction (Sympathy response)
11. Invulnerability (Injury Proof)
12. Physical Anomaly (Contradictions, abnormalities, freaks)
13. Spectator Failure (Magicians’ challenge)

Compare that to the 15 listed by Bob

1. Telepathy
2. Psychometry
3. Remote Viewing
4. Synchronicity
5. Clairvoyance
6. Sightless Vision
7. Memory (and similar effects, such as the Knights Tour, Memory Magic Square, Super Calculation, etc.)
8. Precognition
9. Psychokinesis
10. Influence
11. Mediumistic effects
12. Psychic Readings
13. Subliminal Perception
14. NLP themed presentations
15. Body Language

Like magic the content of your show is limited only by your imagination, knowledge and experience.

Derek
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein






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Mindpro
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Ed, I think this all comes down to magician's thinking and mentalities. Understanding and thinking like a mentalist is learned, studied and acquired. No one really expects to to "get it" as long as you are trying to do so from the magician's perspective. This is the sole source of much misunderstanding and comprehension around here. David Theil speaks of this regularly and relates his journey from magic to mentalist quite eloquently.

Let me also say, watching even a good mentalist performance on DVD still pales in comparison with experiencing it live. It can still be good and enjoyable, but like a live hypnosis show, it must really be experienced live to receive the full impact and experience.

I applaud you for trying to understand it and asking the questions. So many just maintain their magical mentalities and do not even attempt to accept there is a difference, let alone trying to understand it.
DWRackley
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Hi, Ed. Glad to see you in this section of the Café!

I come from a magician’s background as well, and I think maybe what some feel about the “limitedness” of mentalism may be a little like comparing building a sculpture out of clay or building the same sculpture out of Lego blocks. Legos come in a lot of colors and shapes, while clay comes in brown and…darker brown. I’m amazed at some of the things that have been built using Lego blocks, and people come around just to stare at the amazing creations. But ultimately, you will begin to notice the individual blocks. True, you’ll be fascinated that something so intricate could be designed with such a tool, but they’re still just blocks.

A clay sculptor has very little to work with beyond his own imagination, but as much as the clay supports it, we have potentially unlimited range of expression.

For example, I love using my NW. With a little thought, it can serve to read someone’s mind (present), to predict the future, or to “insert” a thought into someone’s mind (past). I even use it now as a closer to select which of my guests wins a prize; very different effects with a single instrument.

As for personal expression, somewhere between psychic and body-language, my character’s focus is on communication, and one of my favorite “powers” is to temporarily enable my guests to experience “knowing” the impossible. Yes, I’m the catalyst, but the whole focus (even the “ability”) is on them. They come up afterwards and tell me they could “feel” when they had the right answer. (I’ve learned to keep a straight face.)

I’ve never had a seed germinate in my hand, I don’t normally bend metal, and only once have I predicted a newspaper headline. I won’t say that a blindfolded drive isn’t in my future, but it’s unlikely that I’ll let someone else choose which gun to fire at my head. These are all different expressions of a mentalist’s “limited” tools. I’m learning to enjoy them very much! Smile
...what if I could read your mind?

Chattanooga's Premier Mentalist

Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

also on FaceBook
Mr. Woolery
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SandJr- I think I phrased my thoughts poorly. I agree that there are reasons for Mr. Cassidy's humor (which works very well for him) and that he does not intend for others to simply lift his presentation. What I meant was that I learn more from looking at a presentation that I KNOW I can't imitate and then making myself think about how I could do it for my own personality and comfort zones than I ever learn from watching a performer whose humor and presentation are close enough to what I want to do that I have a hard time not feeling like a clone. In the first case, meaning folks like Bob Cassidy whose humor won't work for me, I end up being more creative and I think making a presentation I am more comfortable with. In the second, folks whose humor is similar to my own, I spend my time trying to be different without really being ME. Not sure that made any more sense, actually.

Back to Ed, though. There are several resources you can look to for presentations. Start by looking just at what Bob Cassidy has on YouTube. See the difference in effect between the 2 places test (same as name/place in method) and the 3 envelope test. Both use slips of paper. You don't have to buy anything, just look at the performances. Did the audience see these as the same thing?

If you get Switchcraft, look at the way he has it set up. You spend about 100 pages learning the handling of bits of paper and another 500 pages will be the many ways to present what you do with those bits of paper.

You want limited? I play Scottish bagpipes. I have nine notes, one volume level, no dynamics, and if any other instruments want to play along they have to tune specially to match me. Because I don't play in any concert pitch. But there are thousands of tunes written for those nine limited notes and a good piper can keep your attention for hours. Doing the same thing at the same volume the whole time.

Just a thought.

-Patrick
sandsjr
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Mr. Woolery, I got you. My misunderstanding.
cafeinst
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If you ever see the mentalist Satori perform as I have, you would see that mentalism is not limited at all. However, it's not for everyone.
insight
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My take is that the beauty of mentalism resides in its limitless nature. By that, I mean to say mentalism inspires all of us to dream and realize the things we dismiss as impossible are within our grasp if only we are willing to try.

Regards,
Mike
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