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Profile of MentaThought
One thing one reads repeatedly in mentalism (and general magic, for that matter) forums is complaints about mentalism/magic purchases people have made.

Usually the gist of the complaint is that the buyer feels the price he paid was exorbitant for the item bought. A big related problem, of course, is that so many of us feel we've been ripped-off after having believed the hype contained in the item's advertisements.

Other times the buyer might simply feel that, if they'd known how simple the item was to make, they would have preferred to have saved the money they'd spent and made it themselves.

Sadly, I must agree that the hype accompanying so many mentalism products nowadays is just SO "over the top" that in perhaps the great majority of cases the buyers are, in fact, justified to feel they've been taken advantage of/ripped-off.

It's for this reason that I, and I hope others reading this, would consider establishing a regular thread here devoted to "make it yourself" mentalism tools.

Just today I myself went shopping at the local "99 Cents Only" store (but if you live in a more ritzy town than I the closest retail outlet might be the more upscale, higher-priced "$1.00 Store" :-0 ) and bought a slew of items in the stationery section which I'm now trying to find ways to incorporate into a mentalism act.

Similarly, I also bought (at the local Staples office supply outlet) several different kinds of ungaffed clipboards. I plan to experiment with different writing implements to see if I can find an effective way to use them in my act.

Let's face it: the tools of our trade, in most cases, are quite inexpensive in and of themselves. While I agree that the creator of a new product (say, the Xpert, whose "inventor" participates in this forum) should be compensated for having come up with a new mentalism tool that in no way means that he should necessarily henceforth be considered to be the ONLY source for that type of gimmick. In the case of the Xpert, for example, I just feel that a trip to one's local office supply store would reveal probably dozens of products which could be modified, at very little or no expense, to produce similar effects as the Xpert.

Right now I would like to develop, in conjunction with other mentalists, techniques for producing -- at very little expense -- clipboards that rival the rather expensive ones now on the market, such as Guy Bavli's and others. I just feel that with a little effort, an exacto knife, glue and a few other materials most of us here could be saving LOTS of money by making our own mentalism tools.
"A good mentalist ... will teach you a miracle because he understands the subtleties ..." -- Banachek

"If this works it'll be BEAUTIFUL!" - The Amazing Kreskin on a stunning effect he performed on his 1970s television series (PS: it worked)
Samuel Catoe
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Profile of Samuel Catoe
I think that, with some experimentation, you will find that there is a reason the professional quality clipboards (and other materials) are often more expensive than some feel they should be. It takes trial and error, time, patience, and the materials necessary to make the props many use. Many pros also have the expectation, and rightfully so, that there props will serve the purpose they are intended for. That is why you will find them spending the money on a proven product from a proven maker rather than save a few dollars to buy something they are not familiar with. Unless they make it themselves, of course.

However, do not take this as a warning to stop what you are proposing. On the contrary, I say make your own props if you can. That way they meet YOUR needs in every way, rather than the needs someone else thinks you will have. Those who have the building capabilities of a legless ant, like myself, must rely on others to build for us and adapt to what is available or pay for the custom jobs.

Good luck and be careful.

Author of Illusions of Influence, a treatise on Equivoque.
PM me for details and availability.
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