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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Has walkaround and propless taken over? (47 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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IAIN
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It's just an opinion/viewpoint...it's not based on research, mainly how popular the threads are when propless mentalism is released...
backinblack
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Another indicator could be the number of sold effects in the field of not propless effects. unfortunately I have no data related to this issue. if he number of sold effects did not decline I have proplems to understand the theory for taking over. if the number declined this would be an hart fact of course.
backinblack
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Seems like we wrote parallel. I get your point. maybe it is that porpless has its fans - but is it really at all threads from propless effects or is it only at some like proteus while other like some effects of fraser parker are not overrun with posts?

could be that if there are a certain number of fans they are more motivated to write if a propless effect is published (because there are not so many published propless effects) and so (as there are less published effects in the field of propless) at some effects the posts sum up..
IMAGINACIAN
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Very interesting and enlightening thread.

Ok here's my 2c.

Has walkaround taken over mentalism? Not yet, but it eventually will.

Reason - Hobbyists have always driven the magic market by their sheer numbers. So eventually most mentalism releases have to qualify as 'walkaroundable' to achieve sales numbers for the creators.


Has propless taken over mentalism? No and it never will.

Reason 1 - Propless is mostly process heavy - so takes some doing.
Reason 2 - Propless is generally more serious and less entertaining.
Reason 3 - Propless is not visual - most of the time.
Reason 4 - Propless needs much higher focus levels of both performer and participant.
Reason 5 - Propless may sometimes not be 100% surefire.

I guess, due to these reasons, hobbyists will tend to keep away from propless, more or less.

Personally, I do like and enjoy performing propless but only in one on one scenarios.
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saysold1
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I've been doing a good bit of walk-around mentalism for many years now.

To say that only hobbyists are doing this is far from accurate.

My friend the late great Master Mentalist was not a fan of such things, as it's not the ideal vehicle/venue for mind reading. But it does allow me a heck of a lot of flight time in the sandbox to test ideas and also scripting and gauge reactions. It also lets me differentiate my services within my market segment.

So I like it generally, although frankly I get tired sometimes - And truly nothing beats the rush of a great stage or parlor performance.
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Last Laugh
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I like to walkaroud propless when I'm at home, but not in public.
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paul180
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Quote:
On Sep 18, 2017, Last Laugh wrote:
I like to walkaroud propless when I'm at home, but not in public.


You have props but I don't want to see them.
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Mark Strivings
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Speaking as the guy who is more or less to blame for the beginnings of walk around (strolling) mentalism, here are my own two cents on the two main portions of this thread.

First, when someone is asking whether an effect is good for strolling, they are really asking a whole set of questions. They are asking about reset, size, portability, working in the hands, etc. It's also frequently the meager beginnings of fishing to find the method. As many have pointed out, the vast majority of magic/mentalism purchasers are hobbyists and amateurs who rarely if ever actually perform, so the secret (and perhaps the gadget) is the thing. There's nothing wrong with that. I like the toys as much as anybody, and I get it. As far as professional considerations go, all that a true pro needs to know is 'yes, it's good for strolling', or 'no it isn't', because they already fully understand all of the ramifications of the question and answer.

As far as walk around and 'propless' mentalism goes, here's where I sit. I ALWAYS use props of some sort when I do mentalism in a strolling environment. There are several reasons for this. I get the guys who want to be able to simply walk up to a stranger and tell them what they are thinking with nothing written down and no props of any kind. In other words they want the picture that they have in their own heads about what mind reading would look like if it were real. I get that. But here's the problem from where I sit. What if you were that total stranger, and someone walked up to you out of the clear blue sky and truly seemed to read your mind? Would you find that entertaining? Perhaps. Might it make you want to run screaming to get away from the freak of nature who just invaded your head? Entirely possible. Again, this is 100% my opinion and you do not have to agree with me in any way. But I simply must say that I don't want my audience to be terrified of me. We are supposed to be entertainers. And while some people surely find being terrified to be entertaining, I think it's a dangerous assumption to make on a first-time basis. This is one of the reasons why I always use props. Having a prop of some sort, and it can be anything, literally gives the audience something to hang on to o=apart from 'the guy with the freaky mind powers'. Props tend to take this edge off. Most people today have been at least made aware of strolling magicians and can generally handle what that might entail. There are exceptions of course. But I would MUCH rather be perceived of as a magician who does extremely cool mind reading stuff, and not send anyone screaming from the room, than to merely satisfy my own ego at the notion of being able to read a total strangers mind with absolutely nothing. I get this idea, too. It's a power trip. My hesitation stems from the fact that much of the time it's a power trip for the performer only. That's not the most entertaining position in the world to be in.

Again just my own opinion on this. It works for me. One size does not fit all. But the one thing that should always be true without exception is that what we do needs to be entertaining, which means it needs to be about our audience and not about our own ego. I want them to have fun. I don't want them to have nightmares. That's just me.
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Samuel Catoe
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Not only that point Mark, but from a distance, with no props at all, other people not directly involved in the trick have no idea anything is going on other than conversation. Having those props makes the performer stand out as a performer.

And expanding on what you said, magician who reads minds vs. creepy guy who reads minds, which one is more likely to be rehired by that firm, business, or person?
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Mindpro
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Quote:
On Nov 30, 2017, Mark Strivings wrote:
As many have pointed out, the vast majority of magic/mentalism purchasers are hobbyists and amateurs who rarely if ever actually perform, so the secret (and perhaps the gadget) is the thing.

There's nothing wrong with that. I like the toys as much as anybody, and I get it. As far as professional considerations go, all that a true pro needs to know is 'yes, it's good for strolling', or 'no it isn't', because they already fully understand all of the ramifications of the question and answer.

...than to merely satisfy my own ego at the notion of being able to read a total strangers mind with absolutely nothing. It's a power trip. My hesitation stems from the fact that much of the time it's a power trip for the performer only.

//it needs to be about our audience and not about our own ego.


So great to see you post here again Mark. I think you hit the nail on the head and the overall issue with this Penny forum and mentalism, in general, these days. Some still come here as performers, working professionals seeking just the exact insight you just offered. Then there's those that are just in it for the secrets, gadgets and gimmicks come from an altogether different perspective. One is for the audience/client/venue, the other is for the performer and their ego. Two entirely different things that account for 98% of the differences here these days in Penny.

There has been an overall shift it mentalism because of this. Mentalism has never been about and shouldn't be about the power trip, but rather the experience of those witnessing or participating in it. Great insight. Your books on this topic are still among the best.
David Thiel
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I loved reading your post as well, Mark.

For me the bottom line is that any mentalism performed -- by anyone (pro or not) -- needs to be entertaining. It needs to be engaging...it needs to be an experience that makes the audience smile and wonder as they recall it. Ultimately? That's it. Everything else is nuance and noise.

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I would quibble that there is room in most other art forms for work that doesn't make us smile when we remember it. Schindler's List, Titus Andronicus, a Munch painting, a Schoenberg concerto... These works feed some other part of us. Obviously it's not what we are usually there to provide, but I wouldn't want to throw out the possibility that our work could serve that purpose too.

Image



As to the original topic, all I can say is that when the tides of fad turn away from what I do, I only consider it a good thing. If some YouTube 'content creator' convinces all his fans to start performing with a n**l w****r, that's gonna be a bad thing for me. I guess in terms of honoring the history and preservation of our craft I lament the decline in that kind of work, but in terms of my own performance I'd rather be using methods and offering presentations that nobody else is. It does mean there's less "on the market" for me to explore, but what is released benefits from less exposure because it's more niche.
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Atlas
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I think Mark is great. I've never met him, but I've always got time to consider his opinion.

Reading his post here though, there was a line that stood out to me:

Quote:
On Nov 30, 2017, Mark Strivings wrote:
But I would MUCH rather be perceived of as a magician who does extremely cool mind reading stuff


I remembered Mindpro's recent opinion on this:

Quote:
On Oct 25, 2017, Mindpro wrote:
That would be a magician doing "mentalism". Nobody paying to see a mentalist wants to see "the illusion of a mentalist."

If I received promo at my agencies stating that, it would go in the round file right away.


So I was a little surprised but thoroughly pleased by Mindpro's very kind and thoughtful response to Mark's post. It is nice to see that despite differences in style and opinion, we can all get along.

Best,

Atlas
John C
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Nothing ever "takes over" ... things evolve then the pendulum swings.
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Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Nov 30, 2017, Mark Strivings wrote:
As far as walk around and 'propless' mentalism goes, here's where I sit. I ALWAYS use props of some sort when I do mentalism in a strolling environment. There are several reasons for this. I get the guys who want to be able to simply walk up to a stranger and tell them what they are thinking with nothing written down and no props of any kind. In other words they want the picture that they have in their own heads about what mind reading would look like if it were real. I get that. But here's the problem from where I sit. What if you were that total stranger, and someone walked up to you out of the clear blue sky and truly seemed to read your mind? Would you find that entertaining? Perhaps. Might it make you want to run screaming to get away from the freak of nature who just invaded your head? Entirely possible. Again, this is 100% my opinion and you do not have to agree with me in any way. But I simply must say that I don't want my audience to be terrified of me. We are supposed to be entertainers. And while some people surely find being terrified to be entertaining, I think it's a dangerous assumption to make on a first-time basis. This is one of the reasons why I always use props. Having a prop of some sort, and it can be anything, literally gives the audience something to hang on to o=apart from 'the guy with the freaky mind powers'. Props tend to take this edge off. Most people today have been at least made aware of strolling magicians and can generally handle what that might entail. There are exceptions of course. But I would MUCH rather be perceived of as a magician who does extremely cool mind reading stuff, and not send anyone screaming from the room, than to merely satisfy my own ego at the notion of being able to read a total strangers mind with absolutely nothing. I get this idea, too. It's a power trip. My hesitation stems from the fact that much of the time it's a power trip for the performer only. That's not the most entertaining position in the world to be in.


I'm afraid this paragraph makes absolutely no sense to me.Why should the presence or absence of a prop have any bearing on whether the performer is on a "power trip"? What "edge" is being taken off by using props? The edge of believability? Is that an edge we want removed? I've seen some of the UK's finest mentalists perform propless effects -none of them struck me as being on a "power-trip", nor did I see anyone running from the room. I saw people enthralled and entertained (they weren't necessarily smiling, right enough-but I don't personally include a smiling audience among my list of performance demands -sometimes you don't want them smiling!) Why would anyone who performs mentalism wish to be thought of as a "magician doing mindreading" rather than a mind-reader doing mind-reading? It's magicians performing mentalism in this fashion which is slowly but surely killing mentalism as a serious and significant entertainment and reducing it to the level of restaurant magic.

All in my opinion.
DynaMix
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I do think valuing “entertaining” over “how one is perceived” is very important.

It’s also a slippery slope.

While I’m personally inclined to agree that props can highten entertainment value and “mix it up” a little for your audience, I also think theres a fine line. Once you start doing anything in the name of entertainment, it’s easy to veer away from mindreading material.

Take metal bending. Nothing could seem more absurd to me if you are claiming you do it “with your mind”. But mentalists far greater than me do it and pull it off successfully. So what do I know? Whatever fork or coin you are bending is technically a prop too, isn’t it?

How entertaining is it to do purely propless for a long stretch of time? And I don’t mean readings etc.
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