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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Guru by Bill Montana (72 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Philemon Vanderbeck
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Seattle, WA
4258 Posts

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As a retired professional Tarot reader, I have performed thousands of readings for querents, and while I give genuine oracular readings, I do use cold reading techniques to enhance the reading. Is this trickery? Maybe . . .

I have also talked about using a marked Tarot deck as a means to add extra impact to a reading. Another little element of trickery, but in no way detracting from the genuine aspect of the reading.

Heck, I even showed how you could adapt the venerable 21-card trick into an actual reading with a climax.

I have acquired some of Bill's stuff over the years, and in my experience, many of the things he teaches are enhancements to the genuine stuff. In a way, they are "convincers" for when you want to truly convince a reluctant querent that they should take the experience seriously.

Mind you, this is nothing that the beginning worker should attempt. This is stuff meant for the experienced worker who already has a solid background in the real stuff, and is looking for ways to spice up their material, fully understanding the responsibility for incorporating the "tricks."

So unless you have walked the path for awhile, and actually watched Bill's video, you are incapable of offering a well-informed opinion and should just remain quiet so you don't look any more of a fool.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
WitchDocChris
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York, PA
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Context is important here.

For one, I've seen several performers who are clearly good at what they do get flat reactions in a lecture scenario. Magicians are the worst audiences. Like when a comedian watches a comedy show and goes, "That's a good joke" instead of laughing. I feel like it might be an ego thing, too, but I could just be being judgmental there. If a crowd of magicians doesn't really 'get' the material, and can't figure out any of it, they don't like it.

Second, I don't really worry about what magicians think. Laymen pay my fees, not magicians. Though I did get a lot of great reactions from a fellow magician and med student in NYC showing him this kind of stuff (Mixture of Montana's stuff, Aaron Alexanders, and my own).

When I say this material gets great reactions, I'm referring to lay audiences.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
WitchDocChris
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York, PA
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If I were to name a specific I'd say Mystic Orb. I've used it hundreds of times, and only had it not work out twice. Once on a magician, once on this kind of odd buddhist monk dude in New Orleans.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Tony Iacoviello
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Eternal Order
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OK, Ive watched the video twice so far, and Bill was very focused in his teaching and explanations, yes he does bring in related matter, but explains each of his topics so that they are perfectly clear. Also the negativity expressed in this thread is misplaced. Bill discusses shows, lectures, and other aspects of the business I will post my thoughts on the video at a later time. We had a death in the family and I am needed elsewhere and doing other things.

Tony Iacoviello
Martin Pulman
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London
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Quote:
On Oct 4, 2017, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:

Mind you, this is nothing that the beginning worker should attempt. This is stuff meant for the experienced worker who already has a solid background in the real stuff, and is looking for ways to spice up their material, fully understanding the responsibility for incorporating the "tricks."

So unless you have walked the path for awhile, and actually watched Bill's video, you are incapable of offering a well-informed opinion and should just remain quiet so you don't look any more of a fool.


The old "not for beginners", "real stuff" sales-pitch used to work with the gullible newcomers on the Café a few years ago. Even the youngsters have got wise to it. Material stands or falls on its own merits and its practical application in the real world of proper paying customers.

And trying to dismiss criticism of poor performances, weak material and dodgy ethics by calling people "fools" and telling them to be "quiet" is proof only of a rather amateurish fear of honest criticism. Real professionals are used to having their work critiqued day in and day out from a wide variety of people.
Martin Pulman
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London
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Quote:
On Oct 5, 2017, Tony Iacoviello wrote:
OK, Ive watched the video twice so far, and Bill was very focused in his teaching and explanations, yes he does bring in related matter, but explains each of his topics so that they are perfectly clear. Also the negativity expressed in this thread is misplaced. Bill discusses shows, lectures, and other aspects of the business I will post my thoughts on the video at a later time. We had a death in the family and I am needed elsewhere and doing other things.

Tony Iacoviello

Sorry for your loss, Tony.
RCP
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Two Minnie's in The Hell's Half Acre, The Republic of Texas
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Not sure if I am amused or bemused by this thread? R.A.N. flopping around in his grave, like a trout, laughing at it all.
Gumar Oz DuBar
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I wonder why my response to Last Laugh was deleted, as well as his reply to it, but everything leading up to wasn't. Since moved to Mentally Speaking, all of those kind of posts were off-topic, but kept. However, when resolution is made, those post disappear and the ones that remain are only Last Laughs? Very strange.

As far as everything else goes, Bill presents useable information to get steady work in a unique market.
I write and edit text.
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Seattle, WA
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Quote:
On Oct 6, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
The old "not for beginners", "real stuff" sales-pitch used to work with the gullible newcomers on the Café a few years ago. Even the youngsters have got wise to it. Material stands or falls on its own merits and its practical application in the real world of proper paying customers.

And trying to dismiss criticism of poor performances, weak material and dodgy ethics by calling people "fools" and telling them to be "quiet" is proof only of a rather amateurish fear of honest criticism. Real professionals are used to having their work critiqued day in and day out from a wide variety of people.


There are many techniques that are not suitable for the beginning mentalist. As in any art, you have to start with the basics, and then work your way up to the more complicated methods that require subtlety and experience. I have seen far too many well-meaning amateurs completely botch up an advanced routine simply because they didn't fully understand the nuances involved. For example, you cannot be an expert cold-reader simply by reading a book or two; you have to get yourself in the trenches for a few years to learn the knacks of what works and what doesn't. Even my own book on cold-reading is only for those who have been reading for years; I would never recommend it for the beginner, as it doesn't teach them how to cold-read, but rather how to refine their existing techniques.

Let me put it another way. I'm a high school math teacher, and I would never recommend that a student attempt to learn calculus without first mastering algebra and trigonometry. If the only thing they know is how to simplify fractions, they will be completely lost when trying to calculate a derivative or an integral. Magic, like math, has techniques that are simply not suited to the beginner who has just learned the double lift or can perform a decent equivoque.

I have no fear of "honest criticism," but most amateurs are incapable of providing such. They think like magicians, not like laypeople, and see something completely different than the ordinary person who has little experience with mentalism. I've lost count the number of times that a well-meaning amateur has taken upon themselves to critique one of my performances, not understanding the underlying psychology that makes it work in the real world. For example, when I do a Mental Epic style routine, I never get an answer exactly right, just very close. This adds a level of verisimilitude to the routine from a layperson's perspective, since if it was just a trick, I would get everything exactly right. And yet, I've had many an amateur come up to me and wonder why I didn't just get every answer exactly right. They are often incapable of looking at a routine and examining it from the P.O.V. of what would happen if it was "real." In reality, nothing in mentalism should be 100% perfect. Reading minds should be difficult and being 80% accurate is far more impressive than being on the nose all the time.

Alas, we have many a person on this forum who fancy themselves experts when they are really just beginners. And then there are those who think because they are expert in one field, that they are experts in all fields. Once again, the D-K effect rears its ugly head.

Besides, it's easy to claim that you are an expert when you are anonymous, but unless you have the actual credentials to back up your claim, then you're just another faceless voice whispering in the wind.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Martin Pulman
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London
3054 Posts

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Quote:
On Oct 6, 2017, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:

There are many techniques that are not suitable for the beginning mentalist. As in any art, you have to start with the basics, and then work your way up to the more complicated methods that require subtlety and experience. I have seen far too many well-meaning amateurs completely botch up an advanced routine simply because they didn't fully understand the nuances involved. For example, you cannot be an expert cold-reader simply by reading a book or two; you have to get yourself in the trenches for a few years to learn the knacks of what works and what doesn't. Even my own book on cold-reading is only for those who have been reading for years; I would never recommend it for the beginner, as it doesn't teach them how to cold-read, but rather how to refine their existing techniques.

Let me put it another way. I'm a high school math teacher, and I would never recommend that a student attempt to learn calculus without first mastering algebra and trigonometry. If the only thing they know is how to simplify fractions, they will be completely lost when trying to calculate a derivative or an integral. Magic, like math, has techniques that are simply not suited to the beginner who has just learned the double lift or can perform a decent equivoque.

I have no fear of "honest criticism," but most amateurs are incapable of providing such. They think like magicians, not like laypeople, and see something completely different than the ordinary person who has little experience with mentalism. I've lost count the number of times that a well-meaning amateur has taken upon themselves to critique one of my performances, not understanding the underlying psychology that makes it work in the real world. For example, when I do a Mental Epic style routine, I never get an answer exactly right, just very close. This adds a level of verisimilitude to the routine from a layperson's perspective, since if it was just a trick, I would get everything exactly right. And yet, I've had many an amateur come up to me and wonder why I didn't just get every answer exactly right. They are often incapable of looking at a routine and examining it from the P.O.V. of what would happen if it was "real." In reality, nothing in mentalism should be 100% perfect. Reading minds should be difficult and being 80% accurate is far more impressive than being on the nose all the time.

Alas, we have many a person on this forum who fancy themselves experts when they are really just beginners. And then there are those who think because they are expert in one field, that they are experts in all fields. Once again, the D-K effect rears its ugly head.

Besides, it's easy to claim that you are an expert when you are anonymous, but unless you have the actual credentials to back up your claim, then you're just another faceless voice whispering in the wind.

I quite agree, Philemon. The one thing I do really admire about someone like Bill Montana is he wants mentalism to have weight and meaning, and to feel as if something plausibly real is occurring. Too much mentalism now is really just mental magic.

I also agree with you about the non-professional mindset. People who are not full-time professionals in the entertainment field really have very little idea what it takes to build and maintain a career in that arena. It is very easy to dabble in performance on an amateur basis or even a part-time basis while relying on another job. It is very difficult to actually devote your life full-time to something, and once you do you have to develop a completely different mindset from the amateur/part-time performer. Your outlook changes completely when it is performing- and only performing-that puts bread on your table. Thanks for your thoughts.
RCP
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Two Minnie's in The Hell's Half Acre, The Republic of Texas
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Thanks for clarifying your thoughts Martin. Mental Magic, Mentalism, Spiritualism, hoodoo. voodoo, root work, religion, faith healing, readers, mystics, new age, fairs .....etc It's a big field and doesn't fit in a neat package. Certainly not a Magic Café package. Historical perspective is helpful in drawing rational perspectives. People are free to love or hate Bill's works. He is about as authentic as they come but you might not like what he does. There are always magic bunnies.........
Last Laugh
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Gentlemen, if anyone is interested in discussing the idea of using trickery or mentalism techniques outside of an entertainment context, I started another thread. Then it won't be unfairly considered a judgment on this product...

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=15
My Mentalism Podcast:
The Mystery Arts Podcast

Check out my products!

Direct from me (PW: cassidy)

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