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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Practicing Mentalism (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jljones83
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I've been primarily a card guy for many years, but I'm trying to get a better foundation in Magic, so I have been expanding into some coin and money work, and a little Mentalism. I've already done a little mentalism with cards over the years (think of a card, equivoque, etc), so I am a little familiar with the subject. I'm a little confused on how to practice straight mentalism like divination and the like. An example would be a book test that uses a force word or words.

Normally, I would practice the mechanics for weeks until I had them down perfect, then practice the entire trick with patter by myself for a while, then with my fiance for a while, and then finally perform for friends and family.

With my example, there aren't really mechanics to practice, just patter. It's seems like it's basically 'acting'. I can practice the patter over and over, but that doesn't prepare me for actual performance of Magic, just the patter. That type of practice doesn't show you any of the curveballs or surprises that performing magic has. I feel like for me, I would need to practice mentalism on actual people, but for the first few dozen of attempts, I'm worried about failing, and exposing the method of something, ruining many other tricks that might use the same method.

Mentalists of the Café, how do you practice? What would you suggest to someone just beginning to get into mentalism?
Russo
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I gave up on 'real'? mentalism - but there are books on how to 'read' people, body language , etc. that could help performing mentalism-
jljones83
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Russo,
Thanks for the input. I wasn't so much asking about method, moreso how to practice the method without possible exposure. I could read more books on 'reading' people, but actually practicing that 'reading' is what I'm asking about. Do you go right out after learning a new method and try it on someone? Do you try it on someone close that doesn't care if you expose (assistant, fellow magician, wife/husband/GF/BF)? That is more of what I am asking.
Russo
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?? I would just quietly-casualy,watch and do and try -no foul- no gain etc- reminds me when I was a cashier and the patron would open his wallet to get his credit card - most time I could see the drivers licience- then I wold put my hand to my forhead and tell the patron "where there from- State -Town -etc-"- FUN - Fun Fun (retired -80 in June) Good luck - and HAVE FUN _ IT works. Ralph(russo)Rousseau
friend2cptsolo
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Mentalism and mind magic does require you to perform it over and over in real world scenarios before you get the performance to a place that really solid. So you practice by adding it into other magic you are already good at..... you can segway into after say a killer card trick by asking something like
"Can I try something a little different? If it does not work that is ok, but are you willing to try?" or by jumping into a theme that might suit your personality a little more but you get the picture. Anyway just try adding in slowly... and usually mentalism effects may be simple in nature but the audience or spectator may not see it as very easy to figure out as you think. So exposing the method is usually not as much of a concern.
Meaning behind the magic often helps a lot also.... if it is a mind reading effect , Then why are you able to read minds? explain what you are going to do then do it.

Anyway this is some very general advice hope it helps, just keep practicing.
jljones83
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Friend2cptsolo,
Thanks! This was the kind of thing I was looking for. I know what you mean about the method sometimes being simple, that was exactly why I worried about burning any method, accidentally revealing it's simplicity. That's a great idea, to segue out of card into mentalism, and kind of condition the spectator to not really expect a lot on the next one. I could even try after a more mentalism-based to themed card trick like the ones I mentioned in the first post.

As for meaning, this is also where I seem to struggle. As I said, I think mentalism is more in line with 'acting', so you have to have your trick make sense with your 'character'. I'm good with cards, that's the 'character' I play. I guess I need more time and practice to fall into a character theme that I can use with mentalism.
Escamoteur
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To echo friend2cptsolo, premise is very important. When you perform a feat of mentalism, clearly define for yourself (as well as the participant) what ability it is you are demonstrating. Bob Cassidy's Fundamentals really helped me think about this. An excellent read and highly recommended.

As far as practicing certain things, sometimes just doing it is best. There was a trick I was working on that utilized suggestion. As my wife had seen a mentalist on a program that utilized the same technique, she was not an option to test it out on. So one day on an outing to a store where the people working there had seen me perform for them before, I asked could I test out something, and tried it out cold on them. Pulled it off with flying colours and definitely upped my "street cred" at that establishment. I generally do prefer tricks that can't fail (always have an out), but with mentalism for some things this sadly is not possible. Suggestion, certain psychological ploys, and other techniques often have a baptism of fire. Success, however, often does favour the bold, particularly in mentalism.

Carter
Dick Oslund
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This post may get a bit long, but, bear with me. Maybe I can offer a few thoughts.

I've been performing for 70 years. The last 50, I was full time pro'. My main income was from doing school assemblies, border to border and coast to coast. I'm happily retired!

So, you need to understand that "magic" is 5% sleight of hand skills, 5% esoteric principles of science, 5% sensory illusion, and EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT PSYCHOLOGY.

I've always done a fun magic show, using mostly generic props (e.g. rope, silks, cards, golf balls, coins, etc. + a few dedicated props like egg bag, linking rings, etc.

In the mid 80s, Ben Martin talked me into trying some mental "stuff" in my high school program. That season, I used Maurice Fogel's "Fantasy in Flames" (a "bank night" trick) Fogel's "Second Spot" (darn...I can't think of the proper term) and, a prediction of how much change a boy had in his pocket (Swami gimmick). It played far better than I expected. Then I played a college, and a young man complimented me on the magic, AND, then said, that he regarded that "mental stuff" as a religious experience! I dropped the whole routine.

If you want to experiment, I would suggest that you try using a routine that has been tested and done by someone like Max Maven, or Maurice Fogel. I wouldn't try to 'wing it'.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dick Oslund
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P.S.

Find a copy of Corinda's "Thirteen Steps". Some of the young guys consider it outdated and, not worth your time, but Corinda said "it" very well.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
friend2cptsolo
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2017, jljones83 wrote:
As for meaning, this is also where I seem to struggle. As I said, I think mentalism is more in line with 'acting', so you have to have your trick make sense with your 'character'. I'm good with cards, that's the 'character' I play. I guess I need more time and practice to fall into a character theme that I can use with mentalism.

You can definitely draw off things you have interest in to develop that "character"

for me those things range from
Astonomy
strange sciences
Tesla's death ray machine
quantum mechanics
star wars
[img]https://lumiere-a.akamaihd.net/v1/images/databank_jedimindtrick_01_169_a491266d.jpeg?region=0%2C43%2C1560%2C781[/img]

To me these are all things that could be a lead off or just a thought to get me started on a mental effect.
Escamoteur
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Phil Smith's books Mitox and Yokai have some great thoughts on premise and character that will definitely get you thinking.

Carter
Argon
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Hi guys,

first off, this is a great question!
What I can tell you is where NOT to practice: Your partner, friends or colleagues at work or school. Trust me it is very discouraging.
The thing I do is visit a pub or bar and just go up to people and ask them if they want to see some-thing (now this depends or your character) funny, strange, interesting, amazing or mysterious. If they say yes, sit down and show them the first surefire piece you have.
It things go wrong, go to another table and if they really go wrong go home and next time to another place. I hope your town is big enough for this approach.
You can practice the moves and script alone at home as much as you want, nothing beats performing to real people.
So go out there and spread a sense of wonder!
Take care
Stefan
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