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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Fast food mentalism -gourmet food prices? (21 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Martin Pulman
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Once upon a time, mentalism was a rare beast. Very few people performed mentalism and very few mentalism items were available in magic stores. It was understood therefore that mentalism items were going to be priced at a much higher level than ordinary magic releases. You were paying for rare knowledge which was hardly ever publicly exposed and, as almost everyone who performed mentalism did so on stage, you were paying for something that could potentially be used professionally and earn back the investment in quick time.

Now, the situation couldn't be more different. Mentalism is everywhere: every table-hopping magician mixes in a bit of "mentalism"; no TV talent show is complete without a mentalist act (sometimes it's a dimple-faced little kid exposing thousands of pounds worth of shop bought kit) and mentalism is advertised and sold as the modern-day equivalent of the bar bet. The other major change in mentalism has been the rise of prop-less, which is sold as something to be performed in coffee shops or to your friends -none of which is going to earn back the often hefty initial investment.

Given that mentalism is becoming the fast food division of the magical arts; that effects are almost immediately exposed on youtube as soon as they are performed on AGT or BGT; and that prop-less is, by its nature, not designed to be a core component of a stage performance, is it time that the prices charged started reflecting the reality of modern mentalism rather than the tradition of a time when mentalism was truly a mystery art?
Mindpro
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While I agree completely with you about this and the state of the art, however I have seen very little true mentalism being released in along while. Today everything is mental magic or "easy-to-do-mentlaism-lite" - mentalism for magicians. No true mentalism foundation, no separation from magic, no proper positioning and now no psi at all.

I agree with higher prices to keep things more exclusive and for the serious only, but again, it must be true mentlaism performed from a mentalism point of view and position. Unfortunately, not much of this is being released these days. Really, what was the last big mentalism released that wasn't for magicians?
j100taylor
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
I agree with higher prices to keep things more exclusive and for the serious only, but again, it must be true mentlaism performed from a mentalism point of view and position. Unfortunately, not much of this is being released these days. Really, what was the last big mentalism released that wasn't for magicians?


Scott Creasey's Q & A Evolution (off the top of my head)
Lakewood, Ohio
ed wood
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Agreed 100%.
There are presently a couple of effects advertised/hyped on latest and greatest I was reading about that sound quite interesting. One in particular is an ebook priced at $35. This is for a single effect, self released. There is no video available to see the effect, just the creator and friends hype. I have no problem spending $35 but I need more than the words of a few magic Café cult members who hype everything before I buy. If this product is of the quality claimed than $35 is fine but I feel if the creator had real faith in their effect they could have released a physical book (and then justify the cost) or found a reputable publisher/dealer to release it. Mentalism has become a massive cash cow to many and they are mainly allowed to thrive because of the magic Café and the hype that surrounds so many releases. Everyone is releasing ebooks and homemade videos for half thought through routines years before they should be ready for release and charging optimum prices.
Look at books such as the bold and subtle miracles of Dr Faust by David Hoy. In this slim booklet you have at least 3 classics of mentalism that most people wouldn't hope to create in a lifetime for less money than most of these self released single trick ebooks. I'll happily spend big money on a book or dvd by a known performer with a lifetime of experience performing their routines. Here's my advice to everyone, write your ideas down in notebooks, go out perform your effects. When you're ready to retire sit down and write a book containing your very best effects. With years of practice and experience your book could very well be the next masterpiece that you could charge hundreds of pounds for instead of alienating people with overpriced, half thought through ideas churned out quickly as ebooks. There'll be no more need for version 2, 3, 4 etc, with years of experience you'll have it perfected.
There was a recent release I believe was called Proteus by Phedon. With days of it coming out there were pdf's being sent out of improvements and additional information. This should all have been in there in the first place but no, as ever the creator decided to cash in as quickly as possible.
Every effect these days has to have a facebook group where additional ideas can be added. If you got it right the first time this wouldn't be necessary. It's lovely that people come up with their own ideas for effects but why the desperate need to share with everyone? If you're a performer surely you would want to keep your routines to yourself?
I made the decision a while back not to buy any more of these self released ebooks for £20 or more and to only buy things by a known performer or put out by a reputable dealer with an honest demonstration video. Since then the quality of products I have purchased has improved dramatically.

Rant over, sorry of it is a bit rambling!
Mindpro
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I agree Ed. Good for you. It is for this very reason my own books and releases (entertainment business, not mentalism) are not mass-promoted and are premium priced. They are only for the serious and only who I approve and choose to sell to, which is why they are NOT available or distributed through magic dealers even though several have approached me. I know beyond a doubt these resources are worth thousands in additional bookings, revenues and relationships and can be career-changing to many. They are also an education on the industry and operating from an industry perspective (not operating from your own perspective as most do). This is simply too valuable for mass-consumption.

Mentalism used to be the same way. Today with the technology available anybody can release anything quite easily. Remember, when things were only released after years of real-world experience. Tested, refined, updated, and highly polished and perfected BEFORE ever thinking of releasing it. You didn't need fanboy praise from newbie Café member or pretend "mentalists", you have proven track records with professional performers in front of real audiences. This is a huge difference. Also few care about quality and exclusivity in the same way anymore. Things priced higher and offered exclusively had much more value and you didn't mind paying the price knowing it was being kept out of the hands of the kiddies, waanabes and the masses.
IAIN
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Considering that the majority that make-up the café are non-pro, I find it interesting when pros have someone come on here and post about their product, and it's at a high price and they sell it to anyone... You would have thought they would not even mention it on here and sell privately instead...

There's also the pocket money mentalism side of things, where people release something based on classic work, yet give away that original method along with it...all for $5-10...
I've asked to be banned
phedonbilek
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, ed wood wrote:
There was a recent release I believe was called Proteus by Phedon. With days of it coming out there were pdf's being sent out of improvements and additional information. This should all have been in there in the first place but no, as ever the creator decided to cash in as quickly as possible.


Alright. I will remain polite, even if I'm being insulted. You say A RECENT RELEASE WHICH YOU BELIEVE IS CALLED PROTEUS. Meaning you have no idea. Yet, you state as FACT that it was incomplete. And that there were pdfs sent as IMPROVEMENTS. Finally, I just learned that I decided to CASH IN quickly....

Meaning: I'm a greedy jerk delivering ****. Correct?


Now, please indulge me:

1. Tell me which PDFs were improvements over Proteus. Please.
2. Who are YOU to decide I wanted to cash in quickly?
3. Do you know WHAT the money that was raised by this work became? You are confident it went in my pocket?

I will be awaiting your enlightenment, and until then I invite you to THINK and research before you judge and talk my friend.

Respectfully, always

Phedon
...The only easy day is yesterday...
Mindpro
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I agree and also when some name pros endorse or add their name to some of these releases (as a testimonial, etc.) which creates a false sense of quality and level of what it is. I know several top pros who stopped offering such "reviews" or "opinions" for just this reason.
IAIN
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Yeah, it's very frustrating...

If a pro encourages you to release something, endorse it etc - then you trust them that they mean it...same with the quotes...

Some people have endorsed so much with "it's going in my act!", Their shows must last two days solid...
I've asked to be banned
Martin Pulman
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"I feel I've only scratched the surface but I unfortunately have no time to dig deeper right now. My consolation is that I am leaving you with something that works very well, and I will be proud to see it taken to higher levels."
Phedon Bilek, from the Mindpeek effect in the 'Proteus' manuscript.

Only "scratching the surface" and having "no time to dig deeper" certainly suggests a desire to get something to market with haste, and "proud to see it taken to a higher level" certainly suggests you were expecting buyers to improve on your initial idea, no?
ed wood
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, phedonbilek wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, ed wood wrote:
There was a recent release I believe was called Proteus by Phedon. With days of it coming out there were pdf's being sent out of improvements and additional information. This should all have been in there in the first place but no, as ever the creator decided to cash in as quickly as possible.


Alright. I will remain polite, even if I'm being insulted. You say A RECENT RELEASE WHICH YOU BELIEVE IS CALLED PROTEUS. Meaning you have no idea. Yet, you state as FACT that it was incomplete. And that there were pdfs sent as IMPROVEMENTS. Finally, I just learned that I decided to CASH IN quickly....

Meaning: I'm a greedy jerk delivering ****. Correct?


Now, please indulge me:

1. Tell me which PDFs were improvements over Proteus. Please.
2. Who are YOU to decide I wanted to cash in quickly?
3. Do you know WHAT the money that was raised by this work became? You are confident it went in my pocket?

I will be awaiting your enlightenment, and until then I invite you to THINK and research before you judge and talk my friend.

Respectfully, always

Phedon


Hi Phedon, please don't feel insulted or singled out. You have done nothing different to practically every other person who has a recent product on the market.
To quickly address you points:
1. You yourself released a PDF as an addition to the book which it is stated on the thread can be downloaded from your facebook page. Some on the thread for this product seem to see this as an improvement, others as an addition.
2. A person with opinions, take them or leave them. Generally though I'm sure we have more in life we would agree on than disagree on so please don't feel hurt when we disagree.
3. I really don't know or care.

In a review for your product someone quoted from the book "I feel I've only scratched the surface [of this routine] but I unfortunately have no time to dig deeper right now".
I feel this sentence epitomises my point. I want to see effects being released to the market that have been tested and performed over decades.
Now lets not fight, It's not you I'm having a dig at but practically everyone marketing mentalism to magicians.

I've frequently called for mentalists to get out of the Café and start their own forum, obviously this will never happen because too many mentalists are here not to discuss the art of mentalism but to flog mentalism to magicians.
Bob Cassidy talked about the trivialisation of mentalism a lot and I totally agreed with him. Where we disagreed was that he and many other "name" mentalists were a major part of the problem by selling their products on the Café to magicians. Whether it's a $10 ebook sold through penguin or self released or a £200 fancy slip cased limited edition book, if your main marketing tool is hype on the magic Café then you're selling to magicians, trivialising mentalism and have no right to complain when your routines end up being exposed through a tv talent show.
ed wood
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
"I feel I've only scratched the surface but I unfortunately have no time to dig deeper right now. My consolation is that I am leaving you with something that works very well, and I will be proud to see it taken to higher levels."
Phedon Bilek, from the Mindpeek effect in the 'Proteus' manuscript.

Only "scratching the surface" and having "no time to dig deeper" certainly suggests a desire to get something to market with haste, and "proud to see it taken to a higher level" certainly suggests you were expecting buyers to improve on your initial idea, no?


Ha ha, great minds and all that. It took me half an hour to find that quote and you were writing it at the same time!!!
phedonbilek
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
Only "scratching the surface" and having "no time to dig deeper" certainly suggests a desire to get something to market with haste, and "proud to see it taken to a higher level" certainly suggests you were expecting buyers to improve on your initial idea, no?


Of course. When I buy an effect I ALWAYS adapt it to myself, and most often than not I even modify the handling to suit my needs and style. You don't? You stick to what you see/read? Of course I'm expecting buyers to improve on my initial idea. If you expected me to release a book covering everything the method taught in Proteus allows to do, well... you missed the point I'm afraid.

Anyway... What I realize is that it's very easy for everyone to be negative. Seems to be the new cool. When we don't know we're not trying to understand anymore. We make assumptions, usually false, we judge, and as soon as we post something negative what I call the "pack effect" takes over. I'm from another school of thought. Call me old school, but I still believe in respect.

Peace.

Phedon
...The only easy day is yesterday...
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, phedonbilek wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
Only "scratching the surface" and having "no time to dig deeper" certainly suggests a desire to get something to market with haste, and "proud to see it taken to a higher level" certainly suggests you were expecting buyers to improve on your initial idea, no?


Of course. When I buy an effect I ALWAYS adapt it to myself, and most often than not I even modify the handling to suit my needs and style. You don't? You stick to what you see/read? Of course I'm expecting buyers to improve on my initial idea. If you expected me to release a book covering everything the method taught in Proteus allows to do, well... you missed the point I'm afraid.

Anyway... What I realize is that it's very easy for everyone to be negative. Seems to be the new cool. When we don't know we're not trying to understand anymore. We make assumptions, usually false, we judge, and as soon as we post something negative what I call the "pack effect" takes over. I'm from another school of thought. Call me old school, but I still believe in respect.

Peace.

Phedon

At no point did I mention anything about "modifying an effect to suit my needs and style". So why are you launching into a rant on that topic? I mentioned your own statement that you had "only scratched the surface" and had "no time to dig deeper" and that you expect others to "improve" your £42 release. If you choose to reply to the post of someone who paid £42 for your book, perhaps you should actually have the courtesy to reply to what they have written?

As for respect, I haven't shown you any disrespect. It would be nice if you treated all your buyers equally, even if they have questions and concerns about your product, rather than reserving respect only for this who praise you to high heaven.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, phedonbilek wrote:

Anyway... What I realize is that it's very easy for everyone to be negative. Seems to be the new cool.



I think you are missing a couple of important points here in your haste of taking this personally and being offended or defensive. It is most important when you release something how it is received by your customers, your targets and the community. A lot of telling, valuable information has been offered here you seem to be missing or ignoring.

If Ed and Martin felt, this, I am sure others did too. No it isn't just you, you were simply used as an example. If someone was not satisfied with their purchase or your advertising and promotion made it questionable or made someone not want to purchase, you should want to know about it. A big part of business is listening to our customers. Same for performing - so many performers perform what they WANT, not what is best for their audience or perhaps what the audience or market wants, requires or demands.

Next is the issue so many have problems with which is very vague, non-telling promotion of their release. They use many adjectives such as amazing, fantastic, new, "this will go in your act right away", and all the hype and BS possible, but never tell any real details, facts or information. Is it for stage or closeup, does it use cards, are additional props or materials required, are special skills required, what skill level of performer is it best suited for and so on. This of course leads to many when posting about it to also be even more vague as "not to giveaway details or release the method or workings." A confused or uneducated customer will not buy. If you (not you specifically) can't find a way to explain what it is to your prospective audience, you are either being a poor marketer and haven't committed to try hard enough or are trying intentionally to keep or withhold information.

I understand how we treat out own releases and material, but we are only part of the equation. If more people dealt in honesty and "full disclosure" much of these types of problems wouldn't exist.
Harrybowman
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
A big part of business is listening to our customers.


Phedon is the only guy I know taking time to reply to each and every message he receives. This dude is the nicest fellow on the Café and has re-defined customer service, and the post above was insulting. There is one creator listening, helping, taking his time to chat and Skype everyone needing assistance and you two losers have nothing else to do than being the same ******** you consistently are.
Martin Pulman
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This thread has been deflected somewhat off my intended topic of conversation!?! : given that mentalism is no longer a rare and secret art, are the historically high prices of mentalism releases still justified? If an alchemist sold a technique for every 8-year-old to be able to produce their own gold one imagines the spot price would collapse.
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Harrybowman wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
A big part of business is listening to our customers.


Phedon is the only guy I know taking time to reply to each and every message he receives. This dude is the nicest fellow on the Café and has re-defined customer service, and the post above was insulting. There is one creator listening, helping, taking his time to chat and Skype everyone needing assistance and you two losers have nothing else to do than being the same a**holes you consistently are.

And there's the new Café in a nutshell. Anyone posts anything negative they are an "*******".

Is it any wonder people are frightened to post their true thoughts and the place is full of uncensored hype and praise.

Sad, and so amateurish.
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Harrybowman wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
A big part of business is listening to our customers.


Phedon is the only guy I know taking time to reply to each and every message he receives. This dude is the nicest fellow on the Café and has re-defined customer service, and the post above was insulting. There is one creator listening, helping, taking his time to chat and Skype everyone needing assistance and you two losers have nothing else to do than being the same a**holes you consistently are.


Nothing like a newbie that's only been here a couple of weeks telling everyone how it is.
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Harrybowman wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 20, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
A big part of business is listening to our customers.


Phedon is the only guy I know taking time to reply to each and every message he receives. This dude is the nicest fellow on the Café and has re-defined customer service, and the post above was insulting. There is one creator listening, helping, taking his time to chat and Skype everyone needing assistance and you two losers have nothing else to do than being the same a**holes you consistently are.


Nothing like a newbie that's only been here a couple of weeks telling everyone how it is.

It is simply a tactic to stifle criticism, used by people who sell mentalism, their mates and those desperate to be given free stuff. There are pages and pages of praise and hype for new releases, but as soon as anyone says anything negative the "creators" pile on to try and derail the conversation. They are "nice" and helpful and willing to offer you free items for review as long as you praise them. Question their product in any way and the true personality emerges.

The true measure of a person is if they can retain civility when they are not being praised. And that works both ways. I thought Ed Wood's mention of "cashing in" was personal and unnecessary.
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