The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Corinda (16 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
Suffolk
View Profile
Veteran user
400 Posts

Profile of Suffolk
Quote:
On Aug 3, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
I keep bringing up Sturgeon's Law. But it remains applicable.


You are a much revered creator Bob. You can get away with saying 90% of people who purport to be mentalists are deluded.
I'd appear arrogant and people would whinge at me.

Quote:
On Aug 3, 2014, Martin Pulman wrote:
Suffolk,

I think your percentages sound rather generous! I think very few mentalists indeed have an actual talent for mentalism.


Well... So do I but see above..... Smile
mastermindreader
View Profile
V.I.P.
Seattle, WA
12590 Posts

Profile of mastermindreader
I don't think they're deluded. My application of Sturgeon's Law simply means that ninety percent of mentalism is crap. But, then again, ninety percent of everything is crap.

I don't, however, believe that ninety percent of mentalists are deluded.

I am certain some are, but there are many who are, at an inner level, aware that their presentations are crap. And they are the folks I have hope for and are part of the audience for whom I write.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Scott Soloff
View Profile
Special user
Philadelphia, PA
960 Posts

Profile of Scott Soloff
90% of everything is crap.

I think that with mentalism in particular, those that become interested are overlooking the most critical bits.

Mentalism is much more than performing an 'effect' for an individual or a group. If you purchase a 'trick' or a book or DVD and perform it out of the box, you're really missing the point.

It is much more than trying to fool someone.

A mentalist (once again, whatever that means to you) is telling a story, either implicitly or explicitly. I believe that essentially, mentalism is a form of theater.

For instance, no one (I hope) would believe for an instant that memorizing the lines to a play and simply reciting them on stage is acting. Obviously, the art of acting involves much more; such as conveying emotion, the way in which one handles their body and voice, their appearance, the way in which they establish and build rapport with the audience, etc.

Why would anyone think that mentalism is any different? And yet, watching many mentalists perform is as painful as watching the auditions for American Idol.

Performing mentalism well involves a whole host of skills. And yet, this obvious detail appears to elude a large percentage of those drawn to the craft.

End of my rambling...

Best to all,


Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
Martin Pulman
View Profile
Inner circle
London
2967 Posts

Profile of Martin Pulman
I think you are quite right, Scott. Just to add to your thoughts on acting, the most important thing by far in an acting performance is that the actor is performing actions, by which I don't mean physical actions but psychological actions. The great acting books, such as Respect For Acting by Uta Hagen, outline this discovery of Stanislavski's in simple understandable terms. It would be well worth a read for any aspiring performer. Even though they are probably unaware they are doing it, the great mentalists from Dunninger to Brown are all adept at performing "actions".
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17932 Posts

Profile of IAIN
I've always found it a bit weird that you never get lectures at conventions about how to run "you" as a business successfully (tax, accountants, what you can and can't claim for, worth joining equity and so on), and you never really get any on stagecraft or persona either...if you're lucky, you get some on the philosophy behind that particular person's persona/performing criteria, you tend to not get many stories in the field as it were either...you get some, but not many...

i have access to enough "stuff" already, I think lectures in how to raise yer game, how to take the next step, agent vs no agent, managing the advertising side of it all...that's what would make conventions and so forth a bit more interesting...
mastermindreader
View Profile
V.I.P.
Seattle, WA
12590 Posts

Profile of mastermindreader
A large part of my lectures has always been about persona, consistency, etc. And always a lot of stories. Sometimes I even discuss a few routines.
Scott Soloff
View Profile
Special user
Philadelphia, PA
960 Posts

Profile of Scott Soloff
Quote:
On Aug 3, 2014, IAIN wrote:
I've always found it a bit weird that you never get lectures at conventions about how to run "you" as a business successfully (tax, accountants, what you can and can't claim for, worth joining equity and so on), and you never really get any on stagecraft or persona either...if you're lucky, you get some on the philosophy behind that particular person's persona/performing criteria, you tend to not get many stories in the field as it were either...you get some, but not many...

i have access to enough "stuff" already, I think lectures in how to raise yer game, how to take the next step, agent vs no agent, managing the advertising side of it all...that's what would make conventions and so forth a bit more interesting...


You're probably right. But why wait for a convention? All through my life, if I wanted to know something I would attempt to get it directly from the horse's mouth.

Get in touch with someone that successfully does what you admire and invite him/her out to lunch. You'd be surprised at how many people are generous and willing to share.

You'll meet some very interesting people, receive a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints and learn a great deal in the process. If you're lucky, the meal may even be good.

Best wishes,

Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17932 Posts

Profile of IAIN
It was more a general comment really!

i am very much anti spoon-feeding (unless for the infirmed or babies)...just found it interesting that you don't very often see it on a lecture roster...

i would have thought (over here) getting a tax person in for a half hour chat would have been both easy, and free!
innercirclewannabe
View Profile
Inner circle
Ireland
1562 Posts

Profile of innercirclewannabe
I have always avoided conventions,& I have never been to a lecture, for similar reasons to the ones stated by Suffolk. I would break that rule though to see Bob Cassidy, or indeed Richard Osterlind lecture if they were nearby.
I may not get to see them in person, but, there is always the upcoming Penguin event to look forward to! Smile
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17932 Posts

Profile of IAIN
I have found the lectures and events I've been to, to be eye-opening on many different levels...some people have gone down massively in my estimation because of their behaviour, some up - been lucky to see some brilliant people, docc Hilford, mr berglas, its not often you get to see people of that class give their time to listen... or even line up to go to the loo...

especially if you go into the loo after them and you need a sit down and the seat is still warm...

and the social side is great, you get to learn a lot about people that way... strange to think that I've been in the pub with banachek, docc h, a really grubby pub with david berglas and talked about his son and him being the inhouse magician for Arsenal (football) for a while...all that kind of random yet every day thing - loved all that...

seen some very bad behaviour, rude stage whispery stuff too, especially during lectures...didn't like that..and more besides...i don't like that kinda thing..

i have seen a nice venue tucked away in london that would be great to hold something in, there's even a section with a stage which would be great....one day of lectures and chatting, next day can be the dealer dem side, a brunch or something and maybe a final lecture, then open the doors and have a ticketed event for the public....
Engali
View Profile
Elite user
435 Posts

Profile of Engali
Quote:
On Aug 3, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
I don't think they're deluded. My application of Sturgeon's Law simply means that ninety percent of mentalism is crap. But, then again, ninety percent of everything is crap.

I don't, however, believe that ninety percent of mentalists are deluded.

I am certain some are, but there are many who are, at an inner level, aware that their presentations are crap. And they are the folks I have hope for and are part of the audience for whom I write.

Good thoughts,

Bob


Hello Bob and Sandsjr.,

I have taken the past couple of days away to reflect on our discussion. I have enjoyed it *immensely* and am quite glad it hasn't devolved into ad homiem attacks and straw man arguments like it usually does in other parts of this forum. Coming back to this thread, I feel like I have gone off on a tangent far enough for it to be on the brink of derailing the thread and I think I have belabored my point, so I think that this shall be my last post. I respond to the quoted post because I feel like it illustrates my last points.

But before that, to answer your question about who I am...what does it matter? Academic, counselor, psychology student...it is irrelevant in a debate and I can only imagine it devolving into a attacks on my experience/character/etc. because no answer will suffice. In a debate, the logical arguments should stand on their own without appeal to authority and I believe I have made my case. I also believe we have run the course of the debate because I find I am repeating myself. We have essentially run into the point where the issue revolves around a difference of values. If you accept my premise that the bulk of scientific evidence points to systematic desensitization being effective and failing on purpose being a particularly effective form of that for people with certain types of performance anxiety (which is, in fact, true), then the question I originally posed and the one we have finally gotten to is whether or not doing so is justifiable. In your (Bob's and sandsjr's) eyes, it seems like the answer is a resounding "No" because the audience is valued above all else, that they deserve the best a performer can give each time. I would contend (and have) that it is justifiable for an audience to bear a few minutes of bad performance so that a budding mentalist may be able to get over their hang up and perhaps entertain and inspire many more audiences that they would not have otherwise, so that they can eventually give their best instead of giving nothing at all. A difference of values is what it is.

Another major point of disagreement is whether people can learn to perform well. I believe a lot more people can learn to perform well than I think you two (or at least Bob) thinks can because I don't think talent is as bi a deciding factor in task performance as many people are want to believe. Even more relevant to our discussion, I don't think having an anxiety issue about performance is in any way an indication that a person is automatically and necessarily not cut out for mentalism or lacking in talent/potential. The anxiety issue could have resulted from any number of circumstances and isn't nearly predictive of performance or indicative of "talent" in regards to mentalism as say psychological abilities or traits (e.g., general cognitive ability or "intelligence" and conscientiousness being the big two). So no, I reject the idea that having anxiety is an indication of a lack of talent in mentalism, that one is not "cut out" for mentalism, or that these people somehow are automatically future failures in mentalism. I think the aforementioned psychological traits/abilities and hard work is way more related to future performance ability in mentalism as they have been found to be the strongest predictors of performance, particularly complex cognitive performance, across a wide array of disciplines and contexts.

As for Sturgeon's Law, it's really only true in the sense that "crap" and what is deemed excellent is completely relative. If you dig deeper into the law, the whole point should be obvious that the bottom 90% is not necessarily "objectively" bad (although it can be and the lower end probably is), but rather bad *relative to the top 10%*. In other words, if everyone in mentalism doubled in their performance ability overnight, yesterday's "best" would be part of today's 90% crap. It effect, the law states the obvious without actually making any point. I have never really seen the utility of the law besides pointing out that only the current best is...the best. I'm sure it certainly does feel good if you feel you are part of that elite, though.

In conclusion, in regard to both science endeavoring to reveal truth and people trying to live out their dream, including performing mentalism and despite the naysayers that think they don't belong, this Theodore Roosevelt quote seems apropos:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Thanks for the food for thought. It was fun.
mastermindreader
View Profile
V.I.P.
Seattle, WA
12590 Posts

Profile of mastermindreader
The only reason I asked if you were primarily an academic rather than a performer is because that was the impression I get from your writing.

(But, then again, it's no secret who I am or what my background is, and I like to think that it has at least some relevance to the opinions I express. For example, I'd like to know if the guy who gives me medical advice is actually a doctor.)

I objected to the implication that ANYONE can be a successful performer and/or that talent isn't required.

That's simply not true.
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17932 Posts

Profile of IAIN
Bob, as your intergalactic bong advisor, I recommend you inhale deeply at least twice a day...
mastermindreader
View Profile
V.I.P.
Seattle, WA
12590 Posts

Profile of mastermindreader
Iain-

I will consider that recommendation because I respect and acknowledge your experience in the field. Smile
Scott Soloff
View Profile
Special user
Philadelphia, PA
960 Posts

Profile of Scott Soloff
Quote:
On Aug 3, 2014, IAIN wrote:

i have seen a nice venue tucked away in london that would be great to hold something in, there's even a section with a stage which would be great....one day of lectures and chatting, next day can be the dealer dem side, a brunch or something and maybe a final lecture, then open the doors and have a ticketed event for the public....


Iain,

I would like to know more about this venue.

Thank you,

Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
Scott Soloff
View Profile
Special user
Philadelphia, PA
960 Posts

Profile of Scott Soloff
Iain,

I wasn't thinking... pm the details if you have time.

Best,

Scott
'Curiouser and curiouser."
Engali
View Profile
Elite user
435 Posts

Profile of Engali
Quote:
On Aug 3, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
The only reason I asked if you were primarily an academic rather than a performer is because that was the impression I get from your writing.

(But, then again, it's no secret who I am or what my background is, and I like to think that it has at least some relevance to the opinions I express. For example, I'd like to know if the guy who gives me medical advice is actually a doctor.)

I objected to the implication that ANYONE can be a successful performer and/or that talent isn't required.

That's simply not true.


Sorry to go back on my word, but I never implied that anyone could be successful or that talent was required. I implied that talent is overrated , that people can in fact learn how to be better performers, and, more importantly, having an anxiety issue is NOT indicative of a lack of "talent", of not being "cut out" for mentalism" and does not *necessarily* speak to their ability to do well in mentalism.

You can feel free to re-read my earlier posts at you leisure and see that I never implied that *anyone*, as you say, can be a performer. In fact, the people I was talking about from the beginning were people who have said anxiety issue, whom you dismissed out of hand as being ipso facto not cut out for mentalism. Ever since then I have defended the position that *these* people are not necessarily lost causes since this is not necessarily related to *talent* per se in mentalism and that talent is not *as important* (not unimportant) as you think based on the science in task performance and the empirically supported predictors of success in cognitively challenging tasks.

And this is why it is pointless to continue because I am now repeating myself. I don't know how many asterisks I need to use or how plainly I can say what I mean to get my point across, but whether intentional or by accident it seems that my very specific and nuanced points are being misinterpreted...and now are devolving into straw man arguments which I didn't want.

But you can read it however you want.
mastermindreader
View Profile
V.I.P.
Seattle, WA
12590 Posts

Profile of mastermindreader
Engali-

You wrote earlier:

Quote:
...That's unfortunate because it suggests that you have an entity theory mindset about performance skills; you don't think most people can develop into performers? In your view, would you say "some people have it and some people just don't?" Do you feel like "natural talent" should dictate who goes into what profession or even hobby?


The obvious implication is you believe the opposite.

But thank you for your Internet diagnosis of the unfortunate "entity theory mindset" that you believe underlies my opinion.
Scott Soloff
View Profile
Special user
Philadelphia, PA
960 Posts

Profile of Scott Soloff
At the risk of getting sucked back in...

Yes, call it whatever you want, talent or motivation or factor x, it doesn't matter: most people cannot develop into performers.

Best wishes,


Scott
p.s. Bob, look at that sentence. I should stop kidding you about English lit and brush up on my writing skills. Smile
'Curiouser and curiouser."
mastermindreader
View Profile
V.I.P.
Seattle, WA
12590 Posts

Profile of mastermindreader
I would have used a dash or semi-colon rather than a colon. Smile
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Corinda (16 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.28 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