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CalebRose
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Recently I have been getting into card mentalism. I love it because the tricks are simple and it gives way to great performances. Since the trick is done from the start I really only have to focus on selling the performance. Though I have always been of the mentality that I did not want to lie to my audience. I do not want them to believe that I have some supernatural ability. Because of that I have been doing the old "reading the inflections of the voice...reading the body language and the tensity in the facial muscles" schtick. But I recently watched an interview with Penn and Teller and they bring up a good point, that a mentalist should not use those lines because it is still misleading the audience to thing I have some extra capability. Is there a way to achieve the sort of moral ground I wish to achieve and still put on a good performance without having to reveal the trick?
truman
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Hi, CalebRose. If you have no "extra capability" at all, why would anyone be interested in your performance? You'll need to be something more than just a regular guy to grasp people's thoughts no matter which persona you settle on. Actors assume roles and behave as if they are someone other than themselves, and no one cares that they are "lying." Why should the performance of mentalism be held to a different standard? In my opinion, Penn and Teller are not sources of valid guidance for any mentalist.
MichaelCGM
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I'm a devout Christian. But from the time I start performing, until I'm done, I have almost no problem bending the truth. I, like you, am an actor playing a part, an entertainer. I expect them to know that. Otherwise, why am I getting paid to be there? I do, however, frame my patter in such a way that I do not directly claim supernatural powers. I may ask if they believe it is possible to read a person's body language, then point out that there are many books on the subject. I may ask if they believe it is possible to influence the outcome of certain things by what I say or how I say it, then point out that mass media advertising does it all the time, as well as politicians. I may ask if it's possible to know the outcome of certain events in advance, then point out trends in human thinking and actuary tables. Only rarely am I asked if what I do is real. When that, specific question comes up, I tell them that "I'm an entertainer," then ask, "Does it entertain you more to believe it's real or to believe it's not?" Then leave them with a sly wink.
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CalebRose
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Truman, I greatly respect your opinion but I disagree. Penn and Teller are some of my favorite magicians and I grew up inspired by their act. They are one of the reasons I have gotten into magic and their philosophy rings very true to my heart. Its funny though because I thought the exact opposite, if I had some supernatural ability what would be impressive about me doing what I naturally do? I see more of the impression being in the fact that I am performing well a trick that is easy to do rather than putting on some false identity like an actor.

MicahelCGM. I like the idea of framing the patter so the ability is indirect. It may be just me but I really dislike the idea of "fooling" my audience by lying about some technique I am using. And maybe perhaps it is just my artistic desires getting in the way lol I do really like the line though, it informs the audience that it is a trick but allows you and them to exist in a mutually agreed on illusion.
Michael Zarek
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, CalebRose wrote:
. Is there a way to achieve the sort of moral ground I wish to achieve and still put on a good performance without having to reveal the trick?


Yes, but then it's not mentalism.

I love Penn and Teller but I couldn't disagree more on the above point.
Reader discretion is advised.
Ben Blau
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, CalebRose wrote:
Recently I have been getting into card mentalism. I love it because the tricks are simple and it gives way to great performances. Since the trick is done from the start I really only have to focus on selling the performance. Though I have always been of the mentality that I did not want to lie to my audience. I do not want them to believe that I have some supernatural ability. Because of that I have been doing the old "reading the inflections of the voice...reading the body language and the tensity in the facial muscles" schtick. But I recently watched an interview with Penn and Teller and they bring up a good point, that a mentalist should not use those lines because it is still misleading the audience to thing I have some extra capability. Is there a way to achieve the sort of moral ground I wish to achieve and still put on a good performance without having to reveal the trick?


The approach you're considering is challenging, but not impossible. During your routines you can encourage critical thinking, as well as an appreciation for the mysterious and unknown. I present myself as a skeptic of psychic phenomena in my performances, and I don't find it to diminish the impact in the slightest.

-Ben
Ben Blau
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It's helpful to not be too preachy about it, though. Keep it light. Here is an example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rygyu9glfvU

-Ben
friend2cptsolo
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Have you ever went to a movie and during the movie a disclaimer is broadcast across the screen....This is all an act!
You went to the movies to be transported to another place and time and for that brief time a GOOD movie will allow you to "suspend belief"..... A great movie by my favorite directors actually opens with "What you are about to see is based on true events and the names have been changed." ..... GUESS what it was a lie....
Penn holds dark room seances ..... He spends a lot of time getting that audience to a place where they do not know what is "REAL" and what is illusion.
During that moment the magic and all the ghost like apparitions are very REAL.....
Hey if you want to be a guy doing tricks and trickery....then yes, perform your magic that way! You can still put together a great act and make it fun and mysterious.
If you want to perform mind reading ....then do it! Jump In tell them you read minds! Make it fun. Make it scary. Make the magic the way you want it.

There are a lot of forums here on the Café' I have had a lot of fun in some of the scripting ones when some one might have a general idea and asking for input.... I suggest starting there.

So maybe if it is not mentalism.... then you are doing something else.
sbays
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Caleb, I don't think you are grasping what mentalism is all about. Given the criteria you have posted above, you are left with playing a game of poker, or maybe some cardistry if you want to take the time to learn that. But seeing as how you want "easy", well that is ruled out too. But first lets break down a few of your comments and answer them directly.

"I love it because the tricks are simple and it gives way to great performances." What makes them simple in your mind? Lack of sleights needed to accomplish them? And what about card mentalism gives way to "great performances?" What does that mean to you? What is great about it?

"Since the trick is done from the start I really only have to focus on selling the performance." I am assuming you are talking about a self working effect? And how exactly are you going to "sell the performance?" What are you selling it as? Since we are speaking about mentalism in particular, do you even have an idea of what you want to sell it as? There is a great deal of contradiction in your post.

As far as not wanting to lie to the audience, well I think way too many people have jumped on that ideological bandwagon when it comes to the mystery arts. In particular mentalism. Mentalism at its core if giving the illusion of mind reading. In performance you get some theatrical license. Oh and by the way, telling people you are using body language, NLP and all of that is just as big a lie as telling them you are a distant relative of Professor X and can control mens minds. A lie is a lie is a lie. There is a huge difference between doing a show, and sitting someone down and trying to convince them you have real psychic powers. Or scamming them out of money by talking to their dead relatives etc. I have always taken issue with guys like Penn & Teller who do not seem to delineate between the two.

All of that being said, you can do great mentalism without ever making any direct claims. You never have to say, "I am reading your mind". Just do it. Let them draw their own conclusions. You aren't going to change anyone's belief system. But if you aren't performing mentalism as if it were real, then you aren't doing it right. IMHO

I did not post this to come down on you, but to simply give you food for thought in your pursuit. Good luck.
"Opportunity may only knock once, but temptation leans on the doorbell."
friend2cptsolo
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Http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=198

Here is a discussion of Christian Mentalism ......
As a devout follower one can not support an art rooted in so much mysticism....so how to they resolve that? I think they a few things that might be of use to Caleb.
CalebRose
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Sbays,

Thank you for your response. I understand mentalism quite well, I do not think my wanting to personalize it to my own criteria does not take away from my understanding of what mentalism is. And I also think the simplicity of the trick does not take away from it being mentalism either.

Yes, the lack of sleights needed to accomplish the trick make it simple. The lack of sleights means I have nothing to hide, there is only the performance to do. Here I have complete control on the creative input. Its great because I do not need to do anything with cards, from here it is just me.

I do not see any contradictions. I want to sell it as a good performance, the audience understands it to be a trick and yet I want them through the performance to second guess that. I do not want to lie to them. I do not want to fool people, I want them to fool themselves.

You are right, a lie is a lie and I do not want to do it. I have been able to get my card tricks (not mentalism) in a routine where the audience knows and understands it is all skill and sleights and not some supernatural thing. I was hoping I could achieve the same idea for mentalism but if I cannot then maybe it is just not for me. But again, I love Penn and Teller and very much regard them as some of my favorite entertainers.

I really do appreciate your feedback. I definitely have some things to mull over now. Thanks!
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, Ben Blau wrote: I present myself as a skeptic of psychic phenomena in my performances, and I don't find it to diminish the impact in the slightest.

-Ben


OK Now that's just brilliant! Kudos!
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, friend2cptsolo wrote:
Http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=198

Here is a discussion of Christian Mentalism ......
As a devout follower one can not support an art rooted in so much mysticism....so how to they resolve that? I think they a few things that might be of use to Caleb.


Actually, Christianity itself is based strongly on "mysticism."
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, CalebRose wrote:
I do not see any contradictions. I want to sell it as a good performance, the audience understands it to be a trick and yet I want them through the performance to second guess that. I do not want to lie to them. I do not want to fool people, I want them to fool themselves.


Nicely put and definitely doable.
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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IAIN
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...have you considered that Penn and Teller are wrong?...
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sbays
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, MichaelCGM wrote:
Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, CalebRose wrote:
I do not see any contradictions. I want to sell it as a good performance, the audience understands it to be a trick and yet I want them through the performance to second guess that. I do not want to lie to them. I do not want to fool people, I want them to fool themselves.


Nicely put and definitely doable.


It's not mentalism then. If you want it to be obvious it is just tricks, then just do some basic card tricks. Nothing wrong with that. The issue here is saying you want to put a mentalism spin on it, and then stating you want it to be obvious it is a trick and not make them feel like anything else is going on.

Bens take above is great. Many before have taken the, "I am a skeptic, fake, charlatan" approach, Hoy for example, and then proceeded to perform it as if it were real. Banachek is another who clearly states there is nothing psychic or supernatural about what he does. But when he performs he plays it as if it were absolutely real. And that is the crux of the matter. If you aren't going to play it that way, and you don't want it to be perceived that way, then why try to call it mentalism?

In Bens performance above, great performance by the way Ben, he states he is a skeptic but then plays it as if something else is going on. It has an intuition premise as ell as telepathy since he was "sending them a thought." It would be an entirely different performance if he just said, "Ok this is just a trick. It might look like intuition, but I have this deck set up and I am going to throw in some card moves that makes it look like I am actually mixing up the deck, which is in a specific order to accomplish the trick".
"Opportunity may only knock once, but temptation leans on the doorbell."
IAIN
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But if you tell someone that you're a skeptic, and then tell them you will send them a thought - isn't that a bit confusing? (caveat - not clicked on that link)...

i think there's other factors too

is the OP wanting to perform for money?
is it just for social performing and nothing else?
what has he/she studied so far?
who do they like?
how long have they been studying?
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CalebRose
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Sbays, I think ill find a way. It may be difficult but I will never give up.

Iain, it is all just opinion. In this case I do not believe there is a right or wrong, it is just whether or not you agree with them and I agree with them.
innercirclewannabe
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, IAIN wrote:
But if you tell someone that you're a skeptic, and then tell them you will send them a thought - isn't that a bit confusing? (caveat - not clicked on that link)...

i think there's other factors too

is the OP wanting to perform for money?
is it just for social performing and nothing else?
what has he/she studied so far?
who do they like?
how long have they been studying?


I agree with that on both fronts. Also, for what it is worth, Ben, I thought the link that you posted of your "patter" was too long winded and a complete paradox. Please don't take that as an insult, it is certainly not intended to be.
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
IAIN
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Quote:
On Jul 26, 2016, CalebRose wrote:
Sbays, I think ill find a way. It may be difficult but I will never give up.

Iain, it is all just opinion. In this case I do not believe there is a right or wrong, it is just whether or not you agree with them and I agree with them.


each to their own and its more than fine, just be happy doing magic instead and leave the mentalism plots alone - it'll make your life easier and you'll not have any inner turmoil Smile
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