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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Infotainment (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ibm_usa
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In Your Mind, Ky, USA
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I was out performing Saturday when I had a few people asked me after a performance: "can you help people?"
I'm a mentalist. I graduated as a psychology major and I have had the thought of incorporating my knowledge into my performances and Saturday's inquiry by a few members had me really thinking that not only will doing an infotainment program be good business move, it will actually make people's lives a little bit better. I have no goal of diagnosing people because that is far beyond my knowledge but I know a lot of mental hacks that not many know about that can make life a bit easier.

I want to do this but I'm also at a dilemma - I'm not a fan of the new age psychology approach many mentalists have turned to. Thought it works for Brown and Keith, for many it kills the mystique. When asked how I do what I do my reply is simple: I'm not sure, it just happens, I'm still trying to figure it out. I do mainly PK and Telepathic feats and I try to keep it a bit mysterious.

I'm not sure if changing my approach will be economically sound and I'd like to know if anyone else has done this, had the thought of doing this, is doing this and how it went or what didn't work.

My main studies during my university years was cognitive psychology and neuropsychology so things on memory, attention, neurology, etc are of my expertise

If I posted this in the wrong forum my apology, please move it to the right one. Thanks.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
Mindpro
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Many professional and corporate mentalists also have such a program and can be quite successful.
cheesewrestler
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This is using the word "infotainment" in a sense I'm not familiar with ... when I hear it I think of "Entertainment Tonight" or "Access Hollywood." What does it mean here?
DocBenWiz
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I have also heard the term "edutainment" used for similar purpose.

Smile
"Pay no attention to that strange man behind the curtain" (it's only "Doc Benjamin from the Amazing Wizardelia Wagon")
David Thiel
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I think what the OP is talking about resonates with anyone who does any form of reading...not even necessarily the "oracle" kind.

One of the highlights of my show is going into the audience and doing relatively quick readings on some of the members of the audience. I also do close up readings from a table. Some of it is of the co*d reading variety. Some of it is based on observation or body language. But there's a strange relationship that develops between the performer and the audience. It's an instant intimacy that is created. The ones the come up after the show tell you the most personal things simply because of the relationship they assume they have with you because of the skills they believe you possess.

But for me, and simply for me, I have some significant reservations about a) telling the audience member about the "future" even in the very most vague of terms b) dealing with medical/financial/legal questions. It's not my place to do so...and frankly there's something I personally find just a little creepy about it. (And yes...I am speaking only from my perspective...not talking about what other people should or should not be doing.) I am an entertainer. My job is to entertain...not transform lives. I'm not qualified to do this kind of work anyway.

That's why my "readings" deal with the life they've lived instead of the life they are going to be living. There's also an oily and potentially VERY creepy "power" that comes to the forefront when you realize that some of these people will believe anything you tell them. Personally I've decided never to go there because I understand the seductive pull of all that this entails.

Lee Earle told me once that potentially very bad things can start happening when performers begin to believe in their own mojo. He's right.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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IMAGINACIAN
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In Your Thots
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Hi David,

Very, very, very, very well said. I resonate with your thoughts a lot.
There is no better freedom than choice and no better choice than freedom.
funsway
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All of my life I have found way to "help people," using whatever skills, knowledge and wisdom I have acquired.
Performance magic (physical and mental based) has added to that in combination with speech communication, psychology and endless research into why/how people make decisions.
But, I do not try and "help people" when using these skills in an entertainment mode, either established of desired by the observer.
The mind set and expectations are wrong, as is the willingness to deal with real and truthful issues. Just experience opinions, of course.

Take divination as example. One can play at it as a performer with the understanding that no one take sit seriously,
but still know that an individual observer may be inspired to seek answers/solutions to problems along that line.

Some may take advantage of the serious solution seeker and cross the line in charlatanry or power game, while others may attempt to offer legitimate help. Difficult to separate the two is the start is entertainment.
It is also possible to do legitimate soothing to guide the seeker in finding their own solution. but very difficult if you are perceived as an entertainer.

So, an answer to the OP is not "Can you help," but "Should you?" You have the education and focus to help, but shifting from performing Mentalism to legitimate soothing is "fraught with peril."

I partially solve the problem by never using a divination theme in my performances, and never charging when I do soothing.
To the extent that I have "the power" to assist another in choosing a more productive future path it is not a game.
To the extent that I can entertain others with illusions of defying the impossible, I never take myself too seriously.
For me it is a matter of integrity -- I am willing to say what I will do, then always do what I say.
"Entertaining you" and "helping you" requires a different commitment for both of us.

Another way of looking at it is that entertainment is always based on fiction or false premise. Helping people must be based on truth, even if a person's "truth" is an illusion.
The purpose of legitimate soothing must be to strip away all falsehood and deception as perceived by the seeker. Only then can a presentiment have a chance of success.
If a person comes up to an entertainer and asks for help they are far from dealing with the truths of their situation. They want someone to blame rather than a real solution.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
George Hunter
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Seconding what David said.
ibm_usa
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I was hoping to address this by including science based facts & knowledge I've gained through my years of study & integrating it with what I've been doing as a mental entertainer. The biggest issue I'm having is the possibility of having to rebrand myself to the pseudo-psychology persona which in my honest opinion is more dangerous than calling yourself a psychic.
Allow me to explain:
Go to any book store & look at the popular psychology section. The place is littered with untested opinions & junk that has been discredited by well respected experts. Unfortunately the public doesn't have ready access to real psychological books/journals so this cesspool is all they have & it has damaged the public understanding of psychology as a science

There are some good books in the pop psychology section but they're buried in a cesspool.
"You may think that i only talk of things from the past, you know, history, well magic is history"

-Guy Jarrett

"Curiosity isn't a sin Harry, but it should be exorcised with great caution."

-Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)
http://www.jordanallen-mentalist.webs.com/
jstreiff
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Since you are clearly concerned about misrepresentation, even though you have related academic training and experience, it would seem most reasonable to give a lecture in the topic and drop the mentalism. You could certainly illustrate with examples appropriate to a psych lecture being careful not to associate with or inadvertently tip methods.
John
CurtWaltermire
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Curtis The Mentalist
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Quote:
On Aug 30, 2016, ibm_usa wrote:
The biggest issue I'm having is the possibility of having to rebrand myself to the pseudo-psychology persona which in my honest opinion is more dangerous than calling yourself a psychic.


I do both professional speaking and mentalism.

I don't believe that a complete "rebranding" is necessary. Why? Because in the corporate world the people that will hire you to speak, teach, etc., aren't really going to care that much.

All of those funny word combos like "Infotainment" and "Edutainment" are just wordplay designed to get the message across that you are basically a professional SPEAKER who gives informational and educational presentations that are also highly-entertaining. As a corporate speaker myself, I have owned a construction contracting business with 35 full-time employees, been a seminary teacher, a pastor, and a host of other things that I bring to the table and incorporate into my presentations about memory, leadership, communications, influence, etc. Any mentalism I use in those programs is designed to enhance these presentations and make them more attention-getting, informative, fun, etc. That is all.

As an entertainer/mentalist, I bill myself as a mentalist in a pretty straightforward fashion. The two don't usually seem to clash or cross paths in any way.

As you already know, companies that have no entertainment budgets always seem to have budgets for people that can help them better their organizations, boost employee morale, productivity, sales, etc. Of course I'm talking about truly giving them something that can help them and their employees, and not some pseudo-scientific pitch of some kind. Create programs that truly help people and meet a need and their wallets open up rather quickly.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 1, 2016, CurtWaltermire wrote:
All of those funny word combos like "Infotainment" and "Edutainment" are just wordplay designed to get the message across that you are basically a professional SPEAKER who gives informational and educational presentations that are also highly-entertaining.


I agree, this is what I and the industry knows this to be referred as. I've never heard it used to be related to readings or anything else. I believe it was Anton Zellman in the late 70s or early 80s that first came up with the term "infotainment" and tried to have it trademarked.

This was created to change the perception of the long, boring lecture and lecturers that were the norm and dreaded at corporate and college events. It was a way to create an entertaining approach to message-based content.

It also had gained in popularity after 9/11 when many corporate companies quit having large lavish entertainment events. The budgets were eliminated or cut badly. They however still paid for education and informational content speakers and presenters. This is where such terms really came into the consciousness of the climate.

This was followed by the terrible boom in many performers then attempting to become a speaker and offer a "motivational lecture or presentation." These were often just their standard performance with an adapted theme or message tossed in. Corporate America quickly recognized this and like the education market started seeking only those with a true educational and content-based program (perhaps with an entertainment segment added to the message and content) to meet the need of the company or industry.

Having booked many of these over the years, I will say that it should always be message and content first and foremost. Any "entertainment" should only be to enhance or or support the content message.
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