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Topic: All Mentalism is now overpriced
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 11, 2019 01:16AM)
Once upon a time, Mentalism was a rare beast. Very few people performed Mentalism and those that did tended to do so in a cabaret or stage setting. New effects and books were very rare. You would be lucky if you saw more than a handful of new books every year. There was a rationale, therefore, to the high pricing of mentalism products. You were paying for rare and exclusive knowledge. And that knowledge would most likely be applied to paying shows.

Today, Mentalism is everywhere; from TV talent shows to table-hopping magicians to amateur magicians showing tricks to friends and family. Self published ebooks and effects flood the market. A new release seems to appear every couple of hours. This is either a good thing or a bad thing -depending on your point of view (I think it has been disastrous for Mentalism as a serious stage art). But no one could argue that Mentalism hasn't become immeasurably more popular and mainstream in the last twenty years.

The one thing that hasn't changed is the price of the effects. Despite Mentalism no longer being a rare and exclusive art, the products are still priced as if they are. Creators of coin and card magic release physical props -specially printed cards, specially engineered coins, boxes etc -for a fraction of the price that Mentalism creators charge for their self-published books and ebooks ( this despite the majority of modern mentalism effects being tiny variations on propless effects that are almost never suitable for stage or cabaret performances, so they can no longer even claim to have "straight into the act" value). When physical props are released for mentalists they are often shoddily made compared to their magical counterparts -a recent book test had the wrong title on the cover and a completely anachronistic word as a !@#$* word. Clearly the most basic research and testing hadn't taken place.

Someone elsewhere described the price of mentalism releases as a 'scam'. I might not use that language, but I understood what they meant. Isn't it time that the pricing of Mentalism books and effects was brought into line with other mainstream magic products, as Mentalism has become firmly part of the mainstream? There is surely no longer an excuse for exclusive pricing on a product that is no longer exclusive.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 11, 2019 03:01AM)
How much is too much?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 11, 2019 07:02AM)
Great insight and yet very sad indeed for the art of mentalism. This is the exact effect of trivialization of mentalism by magicians. Mentalism hasn't gone mainstream, mental magic has and it has greatly damaged the beautiful stage art of mentalism.
Message: Posted by: innercirclewannabe (Aug 11, 2019 07:22AM)
I think it is a much wider point that the points you've made. You're right about a lot of it in my opinion but that doesn't negate the fact that there are no regulations on price points for any of these releases. Coupled with that you get the childish cliches endorsing the c&&p and then the fanboy brigade are only too willing to attack dare someone say it wasn't as good as the blurb read. I could write a lot more but that won't change anything anytime soon.

Stick with the professionals who've been there, done that. The ones who deliver on time and actually use the ideas/products in their own shows for a paying audience and not for a magic club.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 11, 2019 07:22AM)
[quote]On Aug 11, 2019, IAIN wrote:
How much is too much? [/quote]

It is too much when it is out of line with the pricing of similar products ie: other mainstream magic effects like card tricks and coin magic. Mentalism is no longer an exclusive art so there is no justification for charging exclusive prices.

The pricing of your book test got it exactly right, I thought.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 11, 2019 08:04AM)
Personally, it's purely about content. Two books both for 40quid. One is mediocre and the other has a single routine that adds real value and maybe even lands a booking because a person loved it so much.

If a gig is 250-400 then it's amazing value. For me it's hard to judge.

As for my book test (thank you), however, that was 3 months of work, my real life job is as a designer and if I charged myself the going rate for the work involved, the book would cost more.

Not sure what the going rate would be to reformat, then learn to write in the style used and then make it flow etc.

It's a difficult line in my opinion.

the rolling stones charge more for a ticket than say rival sons (who are amazing) are both rock groups and play some of the same places too...

So maybe however you define that, I think that comes into play as well...whether it should is another matter I guess?

The quality of content should factor into that in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 11, 2019 08:38AM)
Iain,

Everything you say holds true -in fact, far more so - for people manufacturing special coins or printing special decks or making gimmicked wooden boxes.

The point you have yet to address is the point I am making. Mentalism releases continue to be priced at a premium based on a long vanished tradition of mentalism effects being a rare commodity. That tradition has vanished. The premium pricing should vanish with it.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 11, 2019 08:44AM)
I guess I've never seen it as a rare commodity personally... only the value in the routines and how they may elevate your performance and therefore fee...Just my view...
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 11, 2019 09:27AM)
I think part of the problem is many here today in "mentalism" don't know or remember how or what it was previously. This today is their norm and business as usual to them. It is not anything unique or special which deserves premium pricing. You must remember, premium pricing was there for a reason - to keep it out of the hands of the typical magician. How many of the old releases would specifically say "do not share this with magicians" or "help keep this out of the hands of magicians." I remember those days well. Hence the premium price and not mass-release of such content.

And btw, it was much better quality material and content, that only those serious about mentalism would be willing to pay for. This justified the price - quality and scarcity.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 11, 2019 09:46AM)
[quote]On Aug 11, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
I think part of the problem is many here today in "mentalism" don't know or remember how or what it was previously. This today is their norm and business as usual to them. It is not anything unique or special which deserves premium pricing. You must remember, premium pricing was there for a reason - to keep it out of the hands of the typical magician. How many of the old releases would specifically say "do not share this with magicians" or "help keep this out of the hands of magicians." I remember those days well. Hence the premium price and not mass-release of such content.

And btw, it was much better quality material and content, that only those serious about mentalism would be willing to pay for. This justified the price - quality and scarcity. [/quote]

That pretty much sums it up, Mindpro. With the added sadness that anything genuinely good is immediately exposed by being performed on TV talent shows or that terrible Fool Us programme.
Message: Posted by: TEB3 (Aug 11, 2019 02:39PM)
About fifteen years ago, my good friend Larry Becker and I had a indepth conversation about pricing effects and books. In short, if anything is special be it written or crafted and some real time and thought was involved creating it, then put a high enough price to make it worth your while to release it. Then start work on the next thing because in about 6 months someone will have ripped you off with a new "improved" version so your cash flow will come to a screaming halt. I know Bob Cassidy also felt this way and I do where the books I've authored are concerned.

I'm currently putting together a list of books in my collection that I'll make available for sale in the near future. But they are real, not scanned pdf knock offs. Besides on things like The Legendary Scroll of Maskelyn ye Mage would be almost impossible to knock-off. Heck, Tony only did less than 40. Each hand silk screened, assembled, etc. So, you now have a "one page book" that measures thirteen feet, three inches when un-rolled. And I can hardly wait to hear the screams, but where is another one for sale that has been stored under proper conditions and only unrolled four times? Or the true first edition of The Art Of Mentalism by Robert E. Cassidy. Yes, blue stock cover, black comb bound, and only natural aging . Plus autographed by Bob and given to me by him in 1983. Even Bob told me he only thought he had a couple of hundred copies printed.

Now, start figuring out what is your own definition of value. The late Stanley Marcus of Neiman-Marcus fame had a great saying he passed to me; "Value is the difference between the cost of the goods and perception!"

TEB3/Traveler/Lary
Message: Posted by: j100taylor (Aug 11, 2019 03:06PM)
'Architect of the Mind'. Several penguin lectures. 'Sybil'. Three of the top of my head that are reasonably priced and excellent. Although I agree in general it's the 'all' I disagree with.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 11, 2019 03:16PM)
[quote]On Aug 11, 2019, j100taylor wrote:
'Architect of the Mind'. Several penguin lectures. 'Sybil'. Three of the top of my head that are reasonably priced and excellent. Although I agree in general it's the 'all' I disagree with. [/quote]

Poor phrasing on my behalf. My intent was to say that Mentalism as a category of the magical arts is now overpriced, compared to the other categories. I would agree that several Penguin Mentalism lectures are good value, but they are examples of mentalism being put in the exact same price bracket as the other magical arts- which is what I think should be the case. I haven't read Drew Backenstoss's book but his lecture was a delight as it was strictly classic stage Mentalism. Sybil I don't consider to be mentalism in the sense we are discussing it here.
Message: Posted by: j100taylor (Aug 11, 2019 03:54PM)
Yes I generally agree with what you are saying
Message: Posted by: the Sponge (Aug 11, 2019 05:25PM)
Perhaps the opposite is true? Regular magic is underpriced. As you say, some of the effects and gaffs are amazing. Maybe regular magic should up their prices to match mentalism?

s
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Aug 11, 2019 07:18PM)
If anyone can buy an effect (whether magic or mentalism) and then subsequently expose it on YouTube, then it means that it was sold far too cheaply.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 11, 2019 07:34PM)
Thomas Henry's labor of love, "Pocket Guide to Cartomancy" allows for dozens of Mentalism effects or an entire show.

The price was right - free. And the support materials and performance ideas keep growing.

When it is sold it will be very inexpensive. Eliminate the word "all" from the thread title.
Message: Posted by: mindmagic (Aug 12, 2019 03:16AM)
Another exception - Elliott Bresler's Switchcraft. Best value in magic.

Barry
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 12, 2019 04:04AM)
Switchcraft is highly underpriced...

Too much mentalism is sold at pocket money prices...and it's that which devalues what we do. Available to anyone for the price of a burger and a drink...

It's why so few have read it all, and why so many say "I've bought it, never gotten round to reading it...."
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 12, 2019 05:02AM)
[quote]On Aug 12, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Switchcraft is highly underpriced...

Too much mentalism is sold at pocket money prices...and it's that which devalues what we do. Available to anyone for the price of a burger and a drink...

[/quote]

Too much Mentalism. Period.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 12, 2019 08:39AM)
Whilst the perception is that the world and his wife are doing Mentalism I donít think the reality matches that. Sure there is no doubt that Mentalism is more popular than it used to be. However when I lecture it is very rare for there to be more than one mentalist in the room and more often than not the mentalists that are there traveled there because they saw on FB that I was lecturing rather than being members of the club. When it comes to sales at a lecture the items that can be equally applied to magic are the best sellers, the pure Mentalism material sells more slowly.

The reality is than an average book of card tricks will outsell a great Mentalism book by quite a large margin even if the two are priced the same. For me personally the amount of effort that goes into writing a half way decent book isnít worth it if you donít get a reasonable return. However on the flip side I think if you are going to charge a premium price then the quality of the book should reflect that by being properly illustrated and properly bound and covered etc as well as having solid material that has actually been tried, tested and worked to the point of actually being reliable.

Mark
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 12, 2019 09:06AM)
Is it though?

With some creativity and, on a generous estimate, $500 one could easily learn all the skills necessary for an entire career in mentalism. By the way, that includes theater/presentation skills as well.

It's only expensive if one compulsively purchases all the shiny new things coming out (which are often just rehashes of stuff that's been in print for decades).

Considering all of these products are luxury items, I find it hard to fault any creator for charging whatever they please. It's up to the individual to decide if that price is worth what they will receive in return - just like any other luxury market.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 12, 2019 09:15AM)
I've always wanted to know the figures for book sales in mentalism...
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 12, 2019 09:17AM)
I doubt they're anything to write home about usually.
Message: Posted by: kissdadookie (Aug 12, 2019 10:09AM)
[quote]On Aug 11, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Aug 11, 2019, IAIN wrote:
How much is too much? [/quote]

It is too much when it is out of line with the pricing of similar products ie: other mainstream magic effects like card tricks and coin magic. Mentalism is no longer an exclusive art so there is no justification for charging exclusive prices.

The pricing of your book test got it exactly right, I thought. [/quote]

I agree with much of what you have stated in your OP, now, does QUALITY of material warrant higher prices though when the material itself is actually of very high quality? I do find that there are certain creator's whom their output has consistently been excellent and thus for me I feel warrants the prices they are charging. There are some whom I no longer purchase material from because I feel like the value is simply just not there (like much of Fraser's more recent work). Thoughts please.

I also don't think that mentalism pricing in general has outpaced magic releases. I've only early last week paid $40 for the Neat Review which is kind of sort of a magazine for magic?
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 12, 2019 11:18AM)
Value is always subjective. If a creator consistently releases material that a person finds appealing, that person will probably continue to spend money on that creator's works - even if the price goes up.

Magic release prices are trending downward, I believe. Yes, there are still products coming out that are not super cheap, but I think the bulk of products sold today are a lower price than they would have been ten years ago (Particularly downloads). Probably because there's so many people that are just looking to learn a trick or two and will never take it very seriously.
Message: Posted by: kissdadookie (Aug 12, 2019 12:18PM)
[quote]On Aug 12, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
Value is always subjective. If a creator consistently releases material that a person finds appealing, that person will probably continue to spend money on that creator's works - even if the price goes up.

Magic release prices are trending downward, I believe. Yes, there are still products coming out that are not super cheap, but I think the bulk of products sold today are a lower price than they would have been ten years ago (Particularly downloads). Probably because there's so many people that are just looking to learn a trick or two and will never take it very seriously. [/quote]

I feel the same with how the mentalism market goes as well. There's an abundance of relatively inexpensive eBooks and then premium priced material which of course are hit and miss (but that can also be said about the magic market). Now, with why magic products are relatively cheaper than mentalism products, I think that probably has to do with how different the two markets are. Mentalism releases are still IMO geared at actual performers whom earn income from the art whilst the magic market there's been in the past 20 or so years a move towards material geared for social media as well as hobbyists.

Like you've pointed out, the magic market consists of A LOT of people whom are just looking to learn and trick or two and will never take it very seriously. Products have been designed for that demographic on purpose due to that. Mentalism to me at least, there feels like there's still a drive to produce material that are substantial for either professionals and/or a true love and want to progress the field.
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Aug 13, 2019 09:37PM)
I think the first thing that should be discussed is what do we consider the threshold of expensive and what classifies as inexpensive? Then a contextual value scale can be worked out to clarify overpriced and under valued. Which brings me to an interesting point I purchased a few items which were not cheap highly useful then I purchased things for a few dollars that produced great mileage. While other items where not as useful but still interesting for what they were. That said the philosophy which is what were discussing may need to have two separate value scales one for the expensive item and one for the inexpensive items as when one from each group is reviewed side by side different standards should be employed. For example one can not judge a well crafted item the same with one of a lesser quality builder even when the vales are close to the threshold for expensive and inexpensive. This would be the difference between overmining and undermining. Other factors should also be considered as well when determining quality and price. Lastly the product needs to be judged for the most part apart for the creator of the item this way it's not a popularity contest but a real consideration of the accepted standards by which a product is judged. Meanwhile we still have no accepted guideline for determining a product being over priced except for a random group of opinions. Which can be useful at times but at overtimes be nothing more than hype. That said hype is a important part of mentalism and should not be removed entirely but an accepted guideline should include hype rate as one of its factors. When all of these hard scale numbers are combined this will give way to an overall product score of real value which could be based one each category being a 0-100 scale thus giving a product a final scale of 1-xxxx or more. Products with higher score could be at the higher range of inexpensive or expensive although these would be judged within there own price category which would be agreed on by a group determination of what number separates the two.
Message: Posted by: saysold1 (Aug 14, 2019 11:20AM)
My MOABT pocket which cost $199 is a great value and Iím on my second copy. Iím sure many feel happy with this purchase too.

Thereís certainly a heck of a lot of junk mentalist stuff out there.

That said as a creator myself, my latest book took nearly a years worth of work and too much of my time. At $114 retail, my costs are astronomical as they are made in the USA, hand-checked, hand packaged with custom gimmick etc. The 30 page pdf took weeks to create. The advertising and video costs arenít cheap. I have to print 350 books at a time For any new book test. And then if I decide to wholesale them, I must sell to the jobber at 60% less than retail. Those arenít great margins.

Honestly I donít care if people feel our products are too much. Ask Craig F @ Promystic about his up front costs on a new product before a release. Itís an enormous number. Granted Martin thereís a lot of garbage released. But I donít release garbage. And based on my high costs/high time investments, and the fact I wonít make stuff in China - Iím not inclined to sell my stuff cheaply. Not gonna happen.

Right now regardless of the initial success of our latest releases, Iím leaning now towards scaling new releases way down. Iím a full time performer too and the creation of new products sucks up a lot of my time. I donít create just for money - but if I canít make a decent margin itís not worth my time and efforts.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 14, 2019 11:33AM)
I only recently started getting an idea of what product development can run and ... all I can say is .. well, words that aren't appropriate for these forums. Crazy expensive.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Aug 14, 2019 03:33PM)
I think "utility" should be brought into this discussion as well.

I have a routine I've developed over the years that was based on an older routine by Judah, that to me is priceless. It works every time, it's easy to do, very practical and is a stunner.

It uses a couple of bits of paper. And, "if" I ever released my handling/presentation - it would be very expensive. I'm not going to release it, but if I did I'd charge a bundle, because, one, I'd lose the exclusivity of being the only one performing it ... and two, it's a killer effect that I've spent time creating an entertaining presentation and it's incredibly easy to pull off, literally using nothing but a couple of pieces of paper and a pencil.

I support any creator who puts out something of quality, that does what they say it does - and so in my opinion is probably worth what they say its worth. But value, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.

~Oscar
Message: Posted by: Thomas Henry (Aug 14, 2019 05:23PM)
Oscar's closing immediately called to mind something by another Oscar (Wilde), who noted:

"Nowadays, people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Seems apropos to this discussion.

Thomas Henry
Message: Posted by: Race Blakhart (Aug 14, 2019 09:01PM)
[quote]On Aug 11, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
I think part of the problem is many here today in "mentalism" don't know or remember how or what it was previously. This today is their norm and business as usual to them.[/quote]

The sad truth is this isn't just happening to mentalism. It's happening to art forms all over the world. No offense to any of the younger folks here, but it's the millennials' doing.
Of course, they aren't purposely destroying the arts, because like Mindpro said "this is their business as usual".
They have no idea how things used to be.
It's sad really, because they don't know what they're missing out on(I suddenly sound like my father).

If there are any wrestling fans here, it's almost a mirror image to magic/mentalism, as far as the current zeitgeist destroying the wonder and fantasy of the art goes.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 14, 2019 09:36PM)
[quote]On Aug 14, 2019, saysold1 wrote:
My MOABT pocket which cost $199 is a great value and Iím on my second copy. Iím sure many feel happy with this purchase too.

Thereís certainly a heck of a lot of junk mentalist stuff out there.

That said as a creator myself, my latest book took nearly a years worth of work and too much of my time. At $114 retail, my costs are astronomical as they are made in the USA, hand-checked, hand packaged with custom gimmick etc. The 30 page pdf took weeks to create. The advertising and video costs arenít cheap. I have to print 350 books at a time For any new book test. And then if I decide to wholesale them, I must sell to the jobber at 60% less than retail. Those arenít great margins.

Honestly I donít care if people feel our products are too much. Ask Craig F @ Promystic about his up front costs on a new product before a release. Itís an enormous number. Granted Martin thereís a lot of garbage released. But I donít release garbage. And based on my high costs/high time investments, and the fact I wonít make stuff in China - Iím not inclined to sell my stuff cheaply. Not gonna happen.

Right now regardless of the initial success of our latest releases, Iím leaning now towards scaling new releases way down. Iím a full time performer too and the creation of new products sucks up a lot of my time. I donít create just for money - but if I canít make a decent margin itís not worth my time and efforts. [/quote]

I understand what you're saying, Brett. And I don't doubt for a second that an enormous amount of time and effort will have gone into producing and releasing your new product -and by all accounts it is fantastic.

I'm talking about the traditional automatic assumption that all Mentalism products should start at a higher price point simply because they are Mentalism products, not magic products. I cannot see how that justification is valid anymore. It has been all but destroyed by the huge volume of mentalism material being performed outside of traditional mentalist settings -by strolling magicians, as part of three minute slots on talent shows, by kids on YouTube etc. There is nothing wrong with any of these categories, but they were not the traditional venue for mentalist effects.

I absolutely agree with you about the amount of junk being released-usually under the banner of prop-less mentalism. We see people who have clearly never stood on a stage in their life or performed to anyone but their friends and fellow "creators" charging upwards of £60, £80, £100 for self published books and ebooks that are often nothing more than half thought-out notions. The whole thing has cheapened everything about Mentalism - except the prices.

But I also think the way you talk about your 'margin' is also part of the problem. Most of the mentalist products of the past had very limited runs-to the best of my memory. That was what justified the pricing. This wasn't stuff that was going to be used by every strolling magician and performer on local TV. The seemingly industrial scale of your Svengali product empire may have massively increased the quality of Svengali pads but I genuinely think it has had a seriously detrimental effect on their usefulness. I was at a kids birthday party recently and the (very poor) magician did basic rope tricks, card tricks and then did a mind reading trick with a Sven pad. It was disheartening to see such a valuable principle being used in such a fashion. I genuinely wouldn't be surprised to see Svengali pads turning up soon in those kids beginners magic sets, they have become so ubiquitous.

I may be wrong about this but I don't recall Mentalism products being produced and promoted on this scale in years gone by. Creators like Karmilovich, Lesley etc charged high prices for their premium effects but the material was deliberately kept to limited numbers. The balance between art and commerce is way out of whack-in my opinion.

Mentalism was always a bit of an underground art. The black sheep of the magic family. It had something of the night about it. I'm not sure its core essence can survive if it is held up quite so blatantly in the daylight.

And to be clear; I'm not saying that, ideally, Mentalism effects should be cheap. I think it was much better for mentalism when they were expensive and exclusive. But expensive in a climate where the effects are being cheapened, trivialized and industrialized no longer makes any sense.

Just my thoughts.
Message: Posted by: Race Blakhart (Aug 14, 2019 11:46PM)
You're not going to like this, Martin. But I've seen Svengali blank decks in the Dollar Tree(not a notepad, but might as well be at that point). I was tempted to buy them all and throw 'em into the trash, but they'd just restock the shelves the following day. It made me sick to my stomach to see them there, lining the toy shelves.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 15, 2019 01:55AM)
Some years ago Dollar Tree had sets of small linking rings. I bought the four sets they had. I gifted two sets away and still have one.
The other I sold last year for $35. Value is a perception plus scarcity.

Yes, it is sad to see this reduction of any magic props as toys. But, I got my first "Multiplying Balls" trick from a drug store display in 1958 (89 cents)

Can't blame the store.

I also getboxes of animal/number cards that can be used in many mentalism effects, and their drain cleaner is just as magical as the $4.00 bottle for another store.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 15, 2019 03:33AM)
I am not sure that all Mentalism products do have a high price these days. There are plenty of 10 dollar effects out there. The thing I am personally not a fan of is single effect pdfís which are often simply ideas rather than audience tested and worked routines. Some very good ideas to be fair but even the best ideas rarely come to their full potential before they meet an audience. I personally think that single effects need to be in a book unless they are supplied with an essential prop or gimmick. There may be some exceptions such as a professional performance piece Ted K and Lior have a few of these that are not sold in magic shops and are worth their price to a working performer.

I am not convinced that the market for high quality material aimed at performing mentalists has grown that much. The market for propless street Mentalism, close up material and things aimed at 1-1 casual effects has certainly grown but the market for stage based classic Mentalism is still relatively small.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Race Blakhart (Aug 15, 2019 05:22AM)
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, Mark_Chandaue wrote:
I am not convinced that the market for high quality material aimed at performing mentalists has grown that much. The market for propless street Mentalism, close up material and things aimed at 1-1 casual effects has certainly grown but the market for stage based classic Mentalism is still relatively small.

Mark [/quote]

This is an excellent observation, Mark. I think you pretty much hit that nail on the head there.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Aug 15, 2019 03:56PM)
I'm not sure if all mentalism is overpriced or not. But a good amount of mentalism is up to 68% off at the magic warehouse:

https://www.themagicwarehouse.com/
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 15, 2019 04:01PM)
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
I'm not sure if all mentalism is overpriced or not. But a good amount of mentalism is up to 68% off at the magic warehouse:

https://www.themagicwarehouse.com/ [/quote]


how DARE they put mentalism in a MAGIC warehouse! This is an outrage!
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Aug 15, 2019 05:43PM)
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
I'm not sure if all mentalism is overpriced or not. But a good amount of mentalism is up to 68% off at the magic warehouse:

https://www.themagicwarehouse.com/ [/quote]


how DARE they put mentalism in a MAGIC warehouse! This is an outrage! [/quote]

My good man, you're right! They must be stopped.

I bet those magicians are behind this...
Message: Posted by: Race Blakhart (Aug 16, 2019 12:44AM)
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On Aug 15, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
I'm not sure if all mentalism is overpriced or not. But a good amount of mentalism is up to 68% off at the magic warehouse:

https://www.themagicwarehouse.com/ [/quote]


how DARE they put mentalism in a MAGIC warehouse! This is an outrage! [/quote]

My good man, you're right! They must be stopped.

I bet those magicians are behind this... [/quote]

This is why I love you two's posts haha
(Not U2's posts...Bono has nothing to do with this.)
Message: Posted by: mindpunisher (Aug 18, 2019 10:51AM)
I think its a lot simpler than most of the posts. Its not even about magic or mentalism its about what people are prepared to pay. The market always determines the price. If the market thinks its too expensive then prices drop and vice versa. This is universal not just mentalism.
Message: Posted by: Race Blakhart (Aug 19, 2019 03:47AM)
[quote]On Aug 18, 2019, mindpunisher wrote:
I think its a lot simpler than most of the posts. Its not even about magic or mentalism its about what people are prepared to pay. The market always determines the price. If the market thinks its too expensive then prices drop and vice versa. This is universal not just mentalism. [/quote]


This is very true.
But being that we have a specific gripe, that isn't universal, I understand where everyone else is coming from.
Message: Posted by: Paul S Wingham (Aug 19, 2019 08:48AM)
I agree with the OP although I recognise there are some exceptions where there is great value items for sale. I actually think the issue goes wider than mentalism, in that I think magic is overpriced as well, its just the base price was probably lower. i.e. you got more for your money 25 years ago.

As far a mentalism goes, I wont name names but there are 4 or 5 well known names, knocking out Ebooks and I can guarantee the same 4 or 5 names all co endorse each other, they are almost all variations on a theme (pin reveal, star sign reveals, oddly phrased almost riddle like which hands etc, they are generally propless and they are all largely unusable (again, there are some exceptions). Why didn't this happen 20 years ago? because the item would have had to be printed and the effort required and the cost, rendered it generally a waste of time. Nowadays, I can think up an idea in the morning, and publish by the evening. Does that happen? of course it does as evidenced by typos etc and the numerous "version 2.0"

So I totally agree mentalism is overpriced, but not quite for same reasons, I just think generally what is being sold has a lot less value in general, even ignoring the rarity factor which as the OP said, means mentalism should be even cheaper.
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Aug 19, 2019 12:12PM)
I'm really shocked some of the mentalists with business degrees haven't weighed in here.

Supply and demand economics isn't that hard a concept. Mentalism is priced at what people will pay, by definition it can't be "overpriced" if the seller is happy with the results. Web designers would have a lot more customers if they charged $1 per site, for example, but that isn't the economic outcome they want for their services, even if potential customers would be much happier at that price point.

Put another way: Maybe you don't want to buy something at a certain price, but that is why supply and demand are represented as curves and not points.

A much better discussion would be around price elasticity in mentalism, but that would take some knowledge of economics I guess.

Finally, I find the oxymoron of complaining about stuff being too expensive (and thus inaccessible) and simultaneously complaining that mentalism is too widespread and easy to access oddly comforting. Hypocrisy in support of one's personal agenda is indeed ubiquitous, lol.

Ok, back to all your complaining, enjoy!
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Aug 19, 2019 12:40PM)
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, Chris K wrote:
Hypocrisy in support of one's personal agenda is indeed ubiquitous, lol.

Ok, back to all your complaining, enjoy! [/quote]

Well said!
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 19, 2019 01:04PM)
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, Chris K wrote:
Finally, I find the oxymoron of complaining about stuff being too expensive (and thus inaccessible) and simultaneously complaining that mentalism is too widespread and easy to access oddly comforting. Hypocrisy in support of one's personal agenda is indeed ubiquitous, lol.

Ok, back to all your complaining, enjoy! [/quote]
Who said anything about high prices making modern Mentalism inaccessible? Higher prices and rarity used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible, a couple of decades ago. It was a good thing, on the whole. That is most certainly no longer the case. The secrets have never been more accessible, yet the high prices remain.

If you're going to accuse people of hypocrisy, please don't invent facts to support your argument.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 19, 2019 01:10PM)
Pocket money priced mentalism is the problem from my POV...

Magicians feel entitled to have access to miracles for pennies these days...

And I also agree 75 quid plus for a single effect in pdf format, I find that problematic when there's no presentation, no scripting, and the technique is not 100% and the process doesn't support the base claim...
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 19, 2019 02:55PM)
I don't know about that. Several careers were built on $5 mentalism "tricks" in the back of magic catalogs back in the day.

From what I've read part of the original gripe magicians had with mentalists is that mentalists made big bucks and the "tricks" they were doing cost pennies to learn.

If anything, the problem is the prevalence of crappy performers. Who cares how much it costs if it makes an impact? But people doing the routines poorly reduces the amount of impact it has.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 19, 2019 03:03PM)
Yeah but five dollars back then...I thought it was that the items mentalists used often cost pennies, but magicians had to carry around big boxes and extravagant items...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 19, 2019 03:08PM)
I agree though about badly performed stuff...but not just by magicians. But by overly aeolistic and dull mentalists too...
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 19, 2019 07:45PM)
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Pocket money priced mentalism is the problem from my POV...

Magicians feel entitled to have access to miracles for pennies these days.... [/quote]

There's a lot of truth to that. But the cat's out of the bag and there's no stuffing it back in. VHS videos of feature films used to cost £80 when they first came out, so watching a movie on video was an event, as you had to go to the video store -or the video section of the corner shop!-find a movie you liked, hoping it hadn't been rented out already, and you got to keep it for only 24 hours. It made it an event. It made movies feel special. Now thousands of movies are available at the touch of a button and DVDs are three quid in Asda. It has diminished the worth of movies as a medium.

Some Mentalism creators are still charging 1980s VHS prices in a world of disposal DVDs -to stretch the analogy to breaking point.
Message: Posted by: Race Blakhart (Aug 19, 2019 08:22PM)
I feel like a ping-pong ball. Everytime someone makes a point for their side of the argument I'm nodding my head. It sounds to me like all the arguments have some validity here. I guess it's all about perspective.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 19, 2019 09:36PM)
I think you are confusing the concept of "movies" as a medium, and the actual medium they were on. Current movie releases are breaking box office records all the time these days. Between theater sales and streaming services movies are a booming industry still. The thing that has lost value is outdated physical media like VHS. Which, lets be honest, is a crappy medium.

I said previously that with $500 one could learn everything necessary for a career in mentalism. I feel I must amend that. I realized, just now, that it's actually more like $100 and a few days on the internet. To whit - I'm currently writing a new show that will show case skills that can 100% be learned, totally legit and legally, on the internet for free. Those skills combined with books like Maximum Entertainment (2.0 scheduled to release in about 4 days I hear) and Scripting Magic - full career right there.

The $500 estimate I gave previously, swap that around for $100 spent on theatrical skill books and spend the other $400 learning about business. Done deal. Of course, if one is patient and discerning, one could learn the business skills for free as well. It's just harder to wade through that particular cesspool of BS in my opinion.

Mentalism is only over priced if someone is trying to buy it all. But that's not necessary. Not even remotely.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 20, 2019 02:15AM)
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
I said previously that with $500 one could learn everything necessary for a career in mentalism. I feel I must amend that. I realized, just now, that it's actually more like $100 and a few days on the internet. To whit - I'm currently writing a new show that will show case skills that can 100% be learned, totally legit and legally, on the internet for free. [/quote]

Wow! A career in Mentalism used to take years of study and practice. It involved paying creators for rare secrets -if you could find them, and/or being taken under the wing of a mentor and slowly guided through the art.

Now you can do it in a few days for free (or for $100) on the internet?

I don't see this as progress, personally.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 20, 2019 05:51AM)
Iím not sure that paying creators etc has ever been necessary for a career in Mentalism. There is enough in the jinx to put together a multitude of acts. You could certainly put together a good act merely from the contents of that magazine. However being good, let alone great, will always require a lot of study and work (acting, stagecraft,etc) and a large helping of talent and personality.

As far as pricing is concerned a decent quality book (as opposed to a hastily put together pdf of untested ideas) is expensive and time consuming to produce. A long time before a word is even typed the routines and methods need to be formulated, then they need to be worked in front of audiences and adapted and modified until they work from a theatrical standpoint as well as method (a clever method is worthless if audiences donít enjoy the effect). During this working process all the subtleties, nuances and also pitfalls are discovered. When the effect is considered worthy of publication by the artist it then needs to be typed up which is often not an easy process because the description needs to be clear enough to follow whilst also being engaging enough to hold the readers interest. In my own case I try to make the chapters entertaining to read as well as informative.

This means that a single chapter can take weeks to write and may require several rewrites before it is ready. This isnít counting all the time spent researching credits and gaining permissions where required. Likewise illustrations or photographs are often needed to support the descriptions. Photos are cheaper but still take time effort and a photographer, illustrations usually need photographs for the illustrator to work from. Photos often need to be taken from multiple angles and then studied to find the right one for the job. Sometimes a lot of effort has to go into working out how to get the photo from the required angle. For a single illustration a whole day may have been spent to get it right.

When all of the words and images have been entered a lot of effort then needs to go into layout and design such as fonts, spacing, kerning any additional artwork for page separators etc. Usually this means paying a professional for the layout and typesetting etc. Then of course cover artwork needs to be designed for both the front and back covers, double this if both a hardback and soft back version are being produced.

Then of course the whole thing needs to be proofed and edited and this can be either done by professionals who are not cheap or by competent members of the community or a combination of both.

To give an example Harpacrown Too has been in the works for 2 years, the material itself is much older. I anticipate another 6 months before it is ready. The chapters that have already been penned have averaged around 70 hours a piece including rewrites and tweaking. When I feel a chapter is ready (usually after several rewrites) it gets sent out to multiple people for review and often ends up getting rewritten based on their feedback because either the humour isnít hitting its mark or the description isnít as clear to them as it seemed to me because I know the method.

So when all is said and done the income I make from the book will likely be less than minimum wage once you have factored in the monetary costs plus the hours spent. The price I will charge for the book will reflect what I feel my time and material is worth. However nobody needs my book, they may enjoy reading it as it is an enjoyable read by design but it is by no means an essential purchase. I personally keep back at least 10% of my own books to gift to people who may not be able to afford premium books.

Mark
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 20, 2019 11:02AM)
[quote]On Aug 20, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
Wow! A career in Mentalism used to take years of study and practice. It involved paying creators for rare secrets -if you could find them, and/or being taken under the wing of a mentor and slowly guided through the art.

Now you can do it in a few days for free (or for $100) on the internet?

I don't see this as progress, personally. [/quote]

Ha. Ok, sorry, I guess I was incorrectly assuming it was innately understood that actually getting good at the performance aspect and the business stuff takes time. The base skills upon which the career is built can be learned in short order, though.

And Mark is right. It was never really necessary to pay a creator to develop a career in mentalism. Most of the original skills that mentalists used were co-opted from other practices and presented under a new guise. Those skills are out there - check the esoteric sections at the book store. We pay creators because they did the work before us to take those skills and turn them into 'mentalism'.

Don't get me wrong. I spend a lot of money on books and the occasional shiny new toy. But I do so knowing that I don't need any of it. I just want it. I will never (could never, really) perform all of the material on my shelves. I'm betting it's likely the same for many of us on these forums.

In regards to progress - I honestly think if more mentalists went back to the skills that mentalism was originally based on, it may return some of the inherent mystery that the art used to have. These days so-called 'mentalism' has gotten very close to magic.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 21, 2019 03:20AM)
[quote]On Aug 20, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
[quote]On Aug 20, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
Wow! A career in Mentalism used to take years of study and practice. It involved paying creators for rare secrets -if you could find them, and/or being taken under the wing of a mentor and slowly guided through the art.

Now you can do it in a few days for free (or for $100) on the internet?

I don't see this as progress, personally. [/quote]

Ha. Ok, sorry, I guess I was incorrectly assuming it was innately understood that actually getting good at the performance aspect and the business stuff takes time. The base skills upon which the career is built can be learned in short order, though.[/quote]

No, they can't. How can you possibly learn the skills needed for a career in Mentalism in a few days?

If you mean you can "collect" the information needed to learn the basic skills of Mentalism in a few days, for free, from the Internet then that is a different point. And again, I fail to see it as a positive.

Your point about Mentalism moving closer to magic, I agree with. That is why Mentalism releases are overpriced. Thanks to "creators" flooding the market, the core methods of mentalism are now as commonly known as the core methods of card magic or coin magic -so Mentalism should surely now be priced accordingly -not at a premium.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 21, 2019 05:12AM)
As I mentioned earlier prices are based on size of the market rather than how widespread the knowledge may be and the knowledge is not as wide spread as you may think. For example when I lectured at Minds and asked how many people know the toxic force almost every hand went up. When I lectured at LADs which is mostly magicians only about 10% of the audience raised their hands. When I lecture at magic clubs it is not uncommon for nobody to be familiar with it. When I lectured at Bexleyheath the only person familiar with the toxic force was a mentalist who came specifically for my lecture. The reality is than an average book on card tricks will sell a lot more copies than even a great book on Mentalism.

The perception that every magician is doing Mentalism is because magicians have a tendency to buy tricks and gimmicks and Sven pads, they donít tend to buy books on pure Mentalism nor are they used to paying the prices that Mentalism books cost. Personally that suits me because selling volume has never been my aim. If I wanted to go for volume I would likely release a video of my coin switch aimed at magicians using the original coin to impossible location application rather than the Mentalism applications because I know that the magician market is vastly larger than the Mentalism market despite the perception that everyone is doing Mentalism.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Pixelated (Aug 21, 2019 05:58AM)
I'm always surprised that the price of some books that have been repressed haven't been increased in line with some of the work released today eg Prism.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 21, 2019 06:46AM)
[quote]On Aug 21, 2019, Mark_Chandaue wrote:
As I mentioned earlier prices are based on size of the market rather than how widespread the knowledge may be and the knowledge is not as wide spread as you may think. For example when I lectured at Minds and asked how many people know the ****** ****** almost every hand went up. When I lectured at LADs which is mostly magicians only about 10% of the audience raised their hands. When I lecture at magic clubs it is not uncommon for nobody to be familiar with it.
[/quote]

Hi Mark,

I'm sorry. I can't agree that Mentalism being constantly used by magicians and exposed on the internet is merely "perception". It is clearly reality.

And anyone not familiar with the technique you mention only has to read posts on open forums that openly name it and a quick google will take them to a YouTube video called -in capital letters-
"T***** ****** REVEALED.

This doesn't strike me as rare knowledge being protected.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 21, 2019 08:09AM)
When you say Mentalism constantly being used on tv you are really talking about a handful of magicians performing mental magic using store bought effects and apps on TV talent shows, mostly Sven pads, which hand effects, 20th century phantom and the occasional book test (commonly Pegasus page). Well you could throw in the odd confabulation but Alan Shaxon was a magician so does that count? The nearest thing I have seen to a magician using a pure Mentalism effect was the use of an adapted version of Barrie Richardsonís chair test used on fool us.

The fact that the force in question is so easily available and yet so widely unknown amongst the members of UK magic clubs demonstrates that magicians in general are not searching youtube for secrets and do not have more than a passing interest in Mentalism.

If anything your argument about the easy availability of the secrets for free shrinks an already small market rather than increases it making it harder to reduce the prices. I am pretty certain that if my book were half the price it is now the sales would not be significantly increased and this is borne out by the performance of half price sales. As it stands the hardback has outsold the softback demonstrating that price is not the limiting factor. Likewise the fact that all reviews have been highly positive would indicate that quality is not the limiting factor. Whilst I am not that far from being sold out most of the people likely to buy the book already have beyond sales at lectures where many were not familiar with my work prior to the lecture.

Due to the small size of the market and the readily availability of the secrets to those not willing to pay, it simply would not be worth my time or effort to write a book to sell a similar number for a fraction of the price. Sure I could put out a casually penned pdf that teaches the effects at a basic level and get a reasonable return but personally I am not interested in producing anything but a high quality product that is also a joy to read so were the return for quality not worth it I simply wouldnít bother.

As it stands the return on a premium priced book is not that high considering you are selling it at 40% of retail to distributors. If you end up making minimum wage youíve had a result.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 21, 2019 08:28AM)
It is also worth pointing out that whilst you may be able to find methods exposed on the internet what is a little harder to find is fully constructed routines that layer those methods into engaging, deceptive and entertaining audience tested routines. This is where the value lies in a good quality book. The internet will teach you how to do something, it rarely covers when to do it, when not to do it, why to do it, how to do it deceptively or how to make it entertaining. Those are the real secrets, the how is easy to come up with once you have a handle on the when, why and what for.

Mark
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 21, 2019 09:21AM)
[quote]On Aug 21, 2019, Mark_Chandaue wrote:
It is also worth pointing out that whilst you may be able to find methods exposed on the internet what is a little harder to find is fully constructed routines that layer those methods into engaging, deceptive and entertaining audience tested routines. This is where the value lies in a good quality book. The internet will teach you how to do something, it rarely covers when to do it, when not to do it, why to do it, how to do it deceptively or how to make it entertaining. Those are the real secrets, the how is easy to come up with once you have a handle on the when, why and what for.

Mark [/quote]

Mark,

You keep telling us why you think you are justified in pricing your book as high as you choose. You haven't told us why you think creators should be flooding the market with new books and new effects.

The selling of mentalism has turned into a business. Not good.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 21, 2019 09:43AM)
[quote]No, they can't. How can you possibly learn the skills needed for a career in Mentalism in a few days? [/quote]

Whether you like it, or are willing to admit it, or not - there are many foundation skills that are very easy to learn.

And once again - I'm talking about the foundations of a career, not a fully fledged one. These are the skills that get developed more and more over time.

Think about it - Washington Irving Bishop built a career on a skill you can learn in minutes (CMR).

The challenge in mentalism is taking the base/foundation skills and making them entertaining.

Given a motivated person with a modicum of performance skill, and most of a day, I could have them doing a twenty-to-thirty minute classic mentalism show. The methods are not difficult at all, and most of what I am thinking would qualify as "self working". Oh, and as a bonus, it would be absolutely bullet proof in regards to risking anyone 'busting' a method.

[quote]You haven't told us why you think creators should be flooding the market with new books and new effects. [/quote]

Sorry, I must have missed the part where Mark said that?

Yes, the market is flooded. As is the magic market. That's how this industry and community is currently set up and clearly people are buying those products so there's a customer base for it.

No one has to buy these products. And if enough people stopped buying them, the creators would have to find something else to do.

This is a self-perpetuating problem. People are cranking out junk products because other people are buying those junk products.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 21, 2019 10:05AM)
I donít necessarily believe the market is being flooded at the premium end. How many decent Mentalism books were released in the last 12 months? Drewís AOTM, Timonís Which Hand, Paul Brooks Certified Mentalism and Phill Smithís Mythology Codex. Beyond those I donít recall any other premium priced books. Maybe Michael Murrayís RPS. On the video side Pete Turner has released DID2 and BFF and Fraser released Opus.

Personally I think all of those were worthy of being released. I am certainly glad to have all in my collection and while I was lucky to be gifted a few of those the most expensive ones I paid full or preorder price for. Oh I forgot Scott Creaseyís books again which I think were worthy of release and again I havenít been given his work for free. I canít remember any other books released in the last 12 months. In fact if you add Michael Murrayís Isolation and Manosí Unveil, again superb releases I think that covers the last 2 years. If I have missed any it is not many. I personally have released 2 items in 3 years both of which I feel brought something to the table. You do have Steve Cookís Fake genius but that is a mix of magic and Mentalism. I wouldnít call those flooding the market. A lot more magic books were released in the same period.

Now when it comes to single effect pdfís and downloads and untested ideas being released now here you have my full agreement. I have already posted my opinion on those. I am not a fan of publishing single effects except in those cases where the effect requires some form of prop or gimmick which is included. Whether they are worth buying is another matter but I personally believe that effects should be sold in books not individually with the possible exception of large scale professional performance pieces sold directly to proís by their creator. Premium priced pdfís I am not a fan of but to be fair I am not personally a fan of pdfís in general although I know some prefer it.

My own stance is that I believe a solid well produced collection of audience tested material deserves a premium price. Single effect pdfís in my opinion shouldnít even exist neither should collections of ideas which have never been tested on real audiences. The difficulty is being able to determine which is which. Some of that comes down to the track record of the author in question and some comes down to waiting for reviews from trusted sources.

Mark
Message: Posted by: ddyment (Aug 21, 2019 12:12PM)
Mark_Chandaue wrote:[quote]... Some of that comes down to the track record of the author in question and some comes down to waiting for reviews from trusted sources.[/quote]
And that, I firmly believe, says it all in a nutshell. Be circumspect in your purchasing, and you'll find that almost nothing you buy is overpriced.
Message: Posted by: kissdadookie (Aug 23, 2019 09:40AM)
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Pocket money priced mentalism is the problem from my POV...

Magicians feel entitled to have access to miracles for pennies these days.... [/quote]

There's a lot of truth to that. But the cat's out of the bag and there's no stuffing it back in. VHS videos of feature films used to cost £80 when they first came out, so watching a movie on video was an event, as you had to go to the video store -or the video section of the corner shop!-find a movie you liked, hoping it hadn't been rented out already, and you got to keep it for only 24 hours. It made it an event. It made movies feel special. Now thousands of movies are available at the touch of a button and DVDs are three quid in Asda. It has diminished the worth of movies as a medium.

Some Mentalism creators are still charging 1980s VHS prices in a world of disposal DVDs -to stretch the analogy to breaking point. [/quote]

Your VHS analogy actually makes no sense here. The reason VHS prices were very expensive in the 80s and 90s was due to the rental market. Initial VHS releases of movies were produced for the rental market. It's after the period of time when the rental market had their "exclusive" run for which the titles would then be produced for the general consumer market. I've learned this back in the 90s when I was trying to buy a copy of Trainspotting when that first came out on VHS and it was about $100. DVDs and streaming have not diminished the worth of movies actually, it had simply shifted the business model. The price of the initial VHS releases for new movies then were not due to their quality nor was it due to a higher demand or people viewing it on a higher pedestal than they do now.

Due to that, it's a bad analogy to mentalism pricing. Your complaint seems to be mostly in regards to the quality of work not matching high price tags (when the price tags are high). A counter argument to this is that due to accessibility having improved and marketing have progressed for them, it makes it easier to figure out what's good or what's bad. I remember when I first got into magic and mentalism, you essentially needed to have blind faith in the guy working at the shop to lead you in the right direction. It also helped if the person at the job had similar tastes as you do so that you would more likely end up with material that you would actually be interested in or use. There's also the issue with the instructions mostly being on photocopied sheets of paper, which if they really wanted to hit it out of the park, they may even have folded the sheets in half and staple bound them to form a booklet. The other issue with the instructions mainly coming as text, it was often the case that they were written poorly so you would have to figure out how the effect is supposed to look by yourself hoping that you're doing it correctly. Now we have videos galore. We can see, to some extent, what we may be potentially purchasing. Instructions are clearer since you see it in action now or instructions may be updated and it's very easy to receive those updates now. You can also, most of the time, contact the creators directly to help troubleshoot a release. Overall, it's much easier to filter what is potentially good from what is not good now than it was years back.

Now, an argument could be made that there's so much that has been released that it's hard to filter things but this is more of a abundance of options when your funds are finite though rather than the market being absolutely impossible to navigate.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 23, 2019 09:48AM)
I used to run a video rental business for a couple of years - I remember when the guy came round and offered a morcombe and wise best of VHS, and the owners really wanted it.. the promo material was great, had the the invisible ball into brown paper bag gag that Eric used to do printed on a brown paper bag...wish I kept that...

how much would Bob Cassidy's work be released at if it were out new and now, in hardback I wonder?
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Aug 23, 2019 10:45AM)
This discussion reminds me of how I felt when I watched Rick Maue's L&L videos ... I felt like I was watching a man's life-work for a fraction of the price of admission.

~Oscar
Message: Posted by: kissdadookie (Aug 23, 2019 11:28AM)
[quote]On Aug 23, 2019, IAIN wrote:
I used to run a video rental business for a couple of years - I remember when the guy came round and offered a morcombe and wise best of VHS, and the owners really wanted it.. the promo material was great, had the the invisible ball into brown paper bag gag that Eric used to do printed on a brown paper bag...wish I kept that...

how much would Bob Cassidy's work be released at if it were out new and now, in hardback I wonder? [/quote]

I feel like Cassidy had always been incredibly generous with sharing his work. His DVDs, Beyond Fundamentals, Black Box Cinema, and Mental Miracles, so much quality content at such reasonable prices. His opus on Penguin Magic for his work on the Q&A, what a steal at $99.
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Aug 23, 2019 02:29PM)
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote¶
Who said anything about high prices making modern Mentalism inaccessible? Higher prices and rarity used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible, a couple of decades ago. It was a good thing, on the whole. That is most certainly no longer the case. The secrets have never been more accessible, yet the high prices remain.

If you're going to accuse people of hypocrisy, please don't invent facts to support your argument. [/quote]


I'm not really sure why you're up in arms about what I said. If it doesn't apply to you, then it doesn't. The fact of the matter is that it does apply to some people. In any case, I apologize that you that took a general comment, that didn't name you, and took it personally. The fact that other people seem to agree sort of undercuts your outrage here. But hey, feel how you want to feel.

However, just for fun, I'll point out the staggering hypocrisy in your little post above.

You write (and all of your comments are above so you can refer back): "Higher prices and rarity used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible"

and then, literally 2 sentences later: "The secrets have never been more accessible, yet the high prices remain"

So which is it, chief, do high prices make mentalism inaccessible or not? It seems like you are arguing not, yet..."higher prices ... used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible" so, you know, huge fail on your part. But thanks for playing.

Now you may be outraged since this actually applies to you.


-C
Message: Posted by: JoshDude849 (Aug 24, 2019 12:36AM)
[quote]On Aug 23, 2019, Chris K wrote:
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote¶
Who said anything about high prices making modern Mentalism inaccessible? Higher prices and rarity used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible, a couple of decades ago. It was a good thing, on the whole. That is most certainly no longer the case. The secrets have never been more accessible, yet the high prices remain.

If you're going to accuse people of hypocrisy, please don't invent facts to support your argument. [/quote]


I'm not really sure why you're up in arms about what I said. If it doesn't apply to you, then it doesn't. The fact of the matter is that it does apply to some people. In any case, I apologize that you that took a general comment, that didn't name you, and took it personally. The fact that other people seem to agree sort of undercuts your outrage here. But hey, feel how you want to feel.

However, just for fun, I'll point out the staggering hypocrisy in your little post above.

You write (and all of your comments are above so you can refer back): "Higher prices and rarity used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible"

and then, literally 2 sentences later: "The secrets have never been more accessible, yet the high prices remain"

So which is it, chief, do high prices make mentalism inaccessible or not? It seems like you are arguing not, yet..."higher prices ... used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible" so, you know, huge fail on your part. But thanks for playing.

Now you may be outraged since this actually applies to you.


-C [/quote]

Yeah that doesn't make much sense bud...You might want to clariify that.
Message: Posted by: dyoung (Aug 24, 2019 01:22AM)
Makes sense to me. Past and present tense.

//Dan
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 24, 2019 03:11PM)
[quote]On Aug 23, 2019, Chris K wrote:
[quote]On Aug 19, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote¶
Who said anything about high prices making modern Mentalism inaccessible? Higher prices and rarity used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible, a couple of decades ago. It was a good thing, on the whole. That is most certainly no longer the case. The secrets have never been more accessible, yet the high prices remain.

If you're going to accuse people of hypocrisy, please don't invent facts to support your argument. [/quote]


I'm not really sure why you're up in arms about what I said. If it doesn't apply to you, then it doesn't. The fact of the matter is that it does apply to some people. In any case, I apologize that you that took a general comment, that didn't name you, and took it personally. The fact that other people seem to agree sort of undercuts your outrage here. But hey, feel how you want to feel.

However, just for fun, I'll point out the staggering hypocrisy in your little post above.

You write (and all of your comments are above so you can refer back): "Higher prices and rarity used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible"

and then, literally 2 sentences later: "The secrets have never been more accessible, yet the high prices remain"

So which is it, chief, do high prices make mentalism inaccessible or not? It seems like you are arguing not, yet..."higher prices ... used to make a lot of Mentalism inaccessible" so, you know, huge fail on your part. But thanks for playing.

Now you may be outraged since this actually applies to you.


-C [/quote]

I think you need to seriously brush up on your reading comprehension skills before you rush in with any more "gotcha" posts.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 24, 2019 03:39PM)
[quote]On Aug 21, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
[quote]No, they can't. How can you possibly learn the skills needed for a career in Mentalism in a few days? [/quote]

Given a motivated person with a modicum of performance skill, and most of a day, I could have them doing a twenty-to-thirty minute classic mentalism show. [/quote]

No, you couldn't.

This is a massive part of what has gone wrong. "Learn Mentalism in a day!". "Perform a full 30 minute show after a day's training!"

The "skills" of mentalism cannot he learned in a day, or even a few days. The mechanics of certain effects can be learned in a few days but even then the mechanics should be practised repeatedly for weeks until they are smooth, relaxed and organic.

The skills of mentalism are based on learning how to interact with non-performers in a performance environment, managing the participants and spectators, blocking, pacing, rhythm, stage choreography, choice of material, ordering of material, controlling the dynamics of the show, building crescendos and creating deliberate lulls, interlacing comedy and drama, keeping one eye on the mechanics of the effect while keeping another eye on the management of the audience while keeping a third eye on the performance as a whole. That's before we talk about the absolutely key issues of creation of character, character consistency, believability, atmosphere, tone, the narrative structure of the performance, creating a script, refining the script, testing the script, creating a performance arc etc etc etc

All these skills are more important than the mechanics of effects. The hard work there has been done by the creators of the effects.

The idea that the skills of mentalism can be learned in a day is laughable.

We really need to go back to the days when people really had respect for Mentalism as a proper performance art, instead of some sort of "play in a day", "just add water" pursuit.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 24, 2019 05:00PM)
Thing is though, its a cultural thing, and we tend not to "go back" to something until its seen as a thing, something vintage or retro and so on... so we could say that The Black Keys kinda copied White Stripes, but The Black Keys are also kinda modern day blues as well as vintage and old skool kool (spellingz deliberate)Ö

so right now, its high voltage consumption, rinse and repeat, get bored, move on, consume more... mentalism has caught the same bug to a wider degree...

and it'll have some good as well as quite a lot of bad too...that's the nature of most creative pursuits isn't it... trailblazers create copycats, the market floods with them, tailblazer goes another direct if its lucky or rides its own arc and changes as it goes in subtle ways...

those that ride the coat tails get confused and want to consume more and more of the next big thing (despite that big thing being wildly different) a lot want to grab hold of something that seems popular because...well...

they feel it will make them popular too, despite knowing deep down it won't...

its why there's so many angry people in this and other fields too...its a mix of "why can't it stay the same!" or "why can't it go back to *this* time period (I felt comfortable in that time period)!" and so on...

look through most of the classic texts and you see a pattern....

magiicans are weakening the art
this mentalist has ripped me off and gives no credit
that mentalist is a **** full stop
this magician shouldn't be performing mentalism
and so on...

then others forget if it wasn't for magicians running exposure shows, they'd be no stage/theatrical mentalism...

we inhabit a strange and weird made-up world...

wishing for things to be something that in reality, they simply are not - just creates anger and frustration and doesn't solve or encourage the reality we exist in...not really... I get why we feel it, but at the same time...(deep inhalation of breath)

mentalism needs to move itself forwards too...it needs to stop harking back to the good old days because they are simply gone...culture, people, beliefs, and so on...its all changed... sure, you'll find people who still believe in things, but then its a personal thing of do you want to encourage a belief in something if you don't personally believe in it...if you do, what does that make you? an opportunist? self-deluded? something else?

i'd like mentalism to be more honest, but not in a derren way... he's often held up as a leading example, and in many, many ways - he still is... and is a legendary performer...some people believe that he's real despite his disclaimer...

and weirdly, his disclaimer would kinda nullify what is seen as classical/theatrical mentalism too, right? mentioning magic? gasp!

and past that, he's happy to take credit for all the behind the scene support he must have with hypnotherapists, counsellors, psychologists etc...and how by using his "techniques" can genuinely help improve a person's life by altering their beliefs and behaviours...

funny old double-standard world is mentalism...

TLDR - I've had a lovely evening painting, drinking SmokeHead Whisky and as much as I love mentalism, I feel it too often eats its own tail...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 24, 2019 05:03PM)
PS - I really respect mentalism, I am often in love with it, especially the late victorian era onwards, til the 40s kinda time period... but I can't perform it that way, part of me wishes I could, and part of me wants it all destroyed... because all good art comes to an end and influences something else in obvious and unusual ways... I really wish we would rally against lack of originality in performance and character rather than anything else...wouldn't it be great to talk about personas more than tricks? because what is possible in my world may not be possible in yours, and vice versa...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 24, 2019 05:08PM)
Just thought of a fun analogy, I can handle Bowie's Tin Machine because it was kinda new and different and he was on a re-invention cusp - I can take all that because I can look back at his previous work and love it (mostly), and if I could forsee the future for real, I would find comfort in knowing that the happy/sad of Blackstar and other work would be coming my way to enjoy...

that was what was amazing about Bowie, he did things because he felt it, (look at his internet and email experiments) and they don't always have to be number 1s, often number 2s, but they were worth travelling through...because staying the same all your life is easy and its also stagnation and a living death... :dancing:
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Aug 24, 2019 06:17PM)
[quote]On Aug 24, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Aug 21, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
[quote]No, they can't. How can you possibly learn the skills needed for a career in Mentalism in a few days? [/quote]

Given a motivated person with a modicum of performance skill, and most of a day, I could have them doing a twenty-to-thirty minute classic mentalism show. [/quote]

No, you couldn't.

This is a massive part of what has gone wrong. "Learn Mentalism in a day!". "Perform a full 30 minute show after a day's training!"

The "skills" of mentalism cannot he learned in a day, or even a few days. [/quote]


So few here are actually performing mentalism anyway, although they either don't understand it or would argue with you against it. Of course, this is at the root of much of the problem. Mentalism is both an art and a science and no it can be learned in a day(s) weeks or even months. If you think it can or you are, that is a good sign you are not doing mentalism, lol.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (Aug 26, 2019 02:29PM)
One of the greatest mentalism acts you can buy is Annemann's One Man Psychic Act which was updated by Stuart Cumberland a few years back. I contend that ANYWONE with enough interest and motivation could learn that act in an afternoon and probably be as good if not better than most who trumpet loudest here.
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 27, 2019 12:26AM)
[quote]On Aug 26, 2019, David Numen wrote:
One of the greatest mentalism acts you can buy is Annemann's One Man Psychic Act which was updated by Stuart Cumberland a few years back. I contend that ANYWONE with enough interest and motivation could learn that act in an afternoon and probably be as good if not better than most who trumpet loudest here. [/quote]

It is indeed one of the greatest acts ever published. People should have more respect for Annemann's genius than to suggest some random person could learn his work in an afternoon. He advises that the billet s*****s, for instance, should be practised until they are invisible and can be performed without ever looking at the hands. I'm pretty sure he didn't mean "practised over your lunch hour".

Consuming too much fast-food mental-magic junk has caused a fatal lack of respect for the rehearsal, dedication and sheer man/woman hours that are required to perform mentalism to the standard the art form deserves.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 27, 2019 01:44AM)
Wading in where I probably should not, we might allow that a person "well practiced in the billet s*****s, audience engagement, and able to find an audience appreciative of mentalism,
could learn such a routine quickly. Many of the skills essential to effective performance have little to do with "what comes in the box."

For me, that is the bigger problem. It is not about conjuring or mentalism or even public speaking. It is the arrogance that watching YouTube, TV or chats on FaceBook
can in any significant way prepare a person for a live interaction with real people face-to-face.

Performance magic in all of its forms can be a wonderful tool for learning human interaction skills essential to career success, interpersonal relations and more.
But, such learning is a ladder and not an elevator. I echo Martin's "fatal lack of respect" - not just for mentalism, but for all attempts at communication and brotherhood.

On the sad flip side, perhaps today's audience general cannot tell any difference, assuming they even glance up from their iPhone.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (Aug 27, 2019 02:17AM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
[quote]On Aug 26, 2019, David Numen wrote:
One of the greatest mentalism acts you can buy is Annemann's One Man Psychic Act which was updated by Stuart Cumberland a few years back. I contend that ANYWONE with enough interest and motivation could learn that act in an afternoon and probably be as good if not better than most who trumpet loudest here. [/quote]

It is indeed one of the greatest acts ever published. People should have more respect for Annemann's genius than to suggest some random person could learn his work in an afternoon. He advises that the billet s*****s, for instance, should be practised until they are invisible and can be performed without ever looking at the hands. I'm pretty sure he didn't mean "practised over your lunch hour".

Consuming too much fast-food mental-magic junk has caused a fatal lack of respect for the rehearsal, dedication and sheer man/woman hours that are required to perform mentalism to the standard the art form deserves. [/quote]

It's interesting what you say about switches being invisible - I can't recall many examples of our top performers doing invisible switches. Indeed, one very lauded individual did a switch on one video I saw and his arm and hand became so leaden hidden behind a clipboard he'd have been as well stealing a rabbit.

I still contend that a motivated non-magician person could probably learn the basics of the act very swiftly and my point is that because they wouldn't be hindered by magician thinking they'd probably get on far better. The skills to present, to connect, to sell yourself - these are different matters but the fundamentals of one of the greatest acts in our field are really pretty basic.
Message: Posted by: dyoung (Aug 27, 2019 02:27AM)
I agree... I think, if we take someone who is a decent performer/actor, they could be trained to do an act in an afternoon. That doesn't mean it will be flawless and the best it can be. It might have to be tweaked slightly. Obviously to say this person is the greatest mentalist ever would be a stretch, he/she clearly wouldn't know anything about mentalism, but that doesn't stop you from being able to perform an act. As David said, technically mentalism is quite easy, it's the performance that would take more work, and we're assuming it's someone who is experienced in that field.



Anyway, mentalism is pricey. I always look to the Cassidy books, packed with decades of performance experience, Artful 2 is $65... I see individual effects selling for more. Somewhere, something has gone wrong... It might be a combination of things, Cassidy might have undercharged, and some of these people definitely overcharge.

ALl the best
Dan
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Aug 27, 2019 02:41AM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2019, dyoung wrote:
I agree... I think, if we take someone who is a decent performer/actor, they could be trained to do an act in an afternoon. That doesn't mean it will be flawless and the best it can be. It might have to be tweaked slightly. Obviously to say this person is the greatest mentalist ever would be a stretch, he/she clearly wouldn't know anything about mentalism, but that doesn't stop you from being able to perform an act. As David said, technically mentalism is quite easy, it's the performance that would take more work, and we're assuming it's someone who is experienced in that field.



Anyway, mentalism is pricey. I always look to the Cassidy books, packed with decades of performance experience, Artful 2 is $65... I see individual effects selling for more. Somewhere, something has gone wrong... It might be a combination of things, Cassidy might have undercharged, and some of these people definitely overcharge.

ALl the best
Dan [/quote]
No 30 minute performance of anything worth performing could be learned in an afternoon. A trained actor couldn't learn a 30 minute dramatic text in an afternoon, far less a Mentalism act.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 27, 2019 08:23AM)
It took you more than an hour to learn to switch billets invisibly? You just do it when no one is looking at you.

I'll repeat myself again - I could teach the basic skills to a motivated student with a modicum of performance skills in a day. They would then take those skills and practice them, and be able to put on a 20-30 minute show once they had it down. I never once said I would create a full career in a day. No one has ever said, "I'm going to be a mentalist" then holed themselves away for a while and come out with a perfect act. It doesn't work that way.

To further confound you - this act that I have in mind would not involve billet switching, center tearing, peeking or anything like that. Indeed, it would involve no deception at all. Just a display of a few genuine mental skills. When I say "classic mentalism" I'm not referring to Annemann's era. About a century older than that.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 27, 2019 09:05AM)
Older? Then there are innate skills that everyone has but has forgotten or suppressed. Nothing to learn at all --
except the ability to pretend with a straight face that they are mentalism.

I think I am beginning to understand where you are coming from ...

you can give a child a set of alphabet blocks from which they can memorize the letters. Maybe even 30 minutes.
Someday they may be able to write a novel. That takes a life-time of experience.

Yes, some of the tools (tricks) behind mentalism are easy to learn.

So, what are people paying so much money for? A short-cut to doing the real work. They are not buying mentalism.

I could use an analogy of pretending a microwaved TV dinner is a wonderful meal. Some cost a lot too, pretend to be more healthy with magic ingredients.
The problem is the many think such meals are just like grandma used to make since they never had a real, home-cooked meal.

Easy to learn. Open the box - push a button. Makes you a cook, maybe. A chef not so much. A gourmand, never.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Aug 27, 2019 09:19AM)
I am chuckling over the line, "You just do it when no one is looking at you."

The explains why many today sit at home playing video games or posting on FaceBook instead of actually getting out and doing something.
'tis said that man's greatest fear is "being found out." You can claim to be any sort of hero if no one is looking, and even pay folks to claim they saw you.

No need to buy an expensive mentalism DVD/book - just buy FaceBook ads. You could become known as the best mentalist in the world.

but yes - one facet of a sleight is timing based on misdirection or directed focus or psychological ploy.

Mentalist have to be better at this than a conjuror since to flub the slight is fatal. Learn the sleight $10. Learn when to do it - $100. Learn when not to - $1000
Message: Posted by: the Sponge (Aug 27, 2019 04:10PM)
Jason Alexander.
Message: Posted by: ryanshaw9572 (Aug 28, 2019 08:19AM)
The reviews are generally helpful in knowing whatís reliable and whatís not. I read all the reviews on all the websites, including here, and if thereís anyone unhappy at all I generally donít indulge.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Aug 28, 2019 10:20AM)
Seems to me that there's always someone who's unhappy with everything out there.

For me the best strategy I have developed is to only ever buy physical books. So unless I have a specific need for something for a show, that's all I do. Out of my modest library of around 250 books, I've only been genuinely disappointed by 2 that I can recall. One of those I consider to be my fault, though - I didn't pay attention while purchasing it.
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Aug 30, 2019 05:30AM)
I personally prefer physical books but there are some very good ebooks out there such as the works of Julian Moore and Sean Waters. I just find it easier to read off a page than a screen and find something comforting about the feel of a physical book. This is also why I personally donít release my own work in electronic format.

I also donít like to use print on demand services for a premium priced book. I think that if you have confidence that the material is worthy of release then you should be willing to invest in having quality printing and binding. Sure its a gamble because others may not feel the same about your material or like your writing style but my thinking is that if you donít have the confidence in your own material to take the financial risk then maybe you shouldnít charge a premium price. This is a personal view only because I do know that there are some very high quality books published on lulu and not everyone is in a position to shell out thousands in advance.

Mark
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Aug 30, 2019 06:48AM)
I think going the high end way of having books printed can inflate the price of releasedbwork because the seller needs to recoup their outlay...

I think, having used Lulu for everything, including hardback editions of f#rcing books I use...they stand up against real off the shelf products...

Especially as they also print in standard paperback off white paper...and offer some unique sizes and binding if that's important to you. It is to me.

The only thing premium I've got out is all my reading systems in a single compendium. And even that's not too pricey especially when compared to the posh high end stuff out there.

I would buy a high end book or a scabby ebook equally if there was something in it that I could use and it improves what I do in some way. Even for me, now that I don't often perform for pay these days too much. I'd still invest in it, however it's delivered if it adds value to what I do.

So I don't think I could put a price on an imp pad, all I'd say is for me, paralabs is the gold atandard. So whatever they charge that's worth it.

Let's say psuedo psychometry had never been discovered until now and someone wrote the idea on a piece of paper, along with a great emotional hook...It worked well, blah blah blah...

What value is that? Do I grumble cos I can buy 101 things to do with a thumb tip for a fiver? I'd say not.

I think the price is informed by the value to the individual. I can't agree with a dumbing down of prices. Not all things are created equally.
Message: Posted by: Hinge Thunder (Sep 9, 2019 01:14PM)
I can appreciate that some products can be very expensive. However, as others have mentioned, product development costs on quality mentalism effects can run very high. There are several companies out there producing high quality mentalism effects. Personally, I have several effects from Promystic and am extremely satisfied with them even though they are not cheap. I feel that Promystic produces extremely high quality effects and am always very impressed by the excellent customer service that I have received from them. Craig and Bobby always take the time to answer my many questions both before and after I buy one of their effects.
Message: Posted by: Geoff Akins (Nov 3, 2019 06:56PM)
Some Mentalism feels overpriced. It depends on your performance style and the performers/creators you like. If itís good stuff and fits my personality then I donít mind paying a bit more to support a creator I enjoy/admire.

One way to save a bit of money is to look both here and on Facebook for people selling books and items they bought but no longer want or need. Iíve scored some great deals that way. I also sign up for newsletters from those Mentalists I enjoy and receive updates on sales and deals, etc. For instance, I just bought Scott Creaseyís Minimalist Metaphysical Mentalism for a steal with a LuLu books discount code and Scottís 50% Off everything offer!
https://www.mentalmagicism.com/
Message: Posted by: LewisLeVal (Nov 6, 2019 03:17PM)
An interesting discussion but nothing will come from it. Take this (paraphrased) quote from someone I admire greatly,

"I can't save the whole world but I can save me, and just maybe that can save everything."

This whole issue seems to be a matter of opinion, both sides making great points, however, if you simply disengage with any problems you personally perceive in the industry, then they will no longer affect you. You know who you are as a performer, you know your style and what works for you. What you choose to spend your money on, regardless of price, should go towards your own betterment as an artist. It's great that we can all come together in this way, but out in the real world where it truly matters, we're on our own. We see mentalism everywhere because we look for it, it's our daily lives, but it's most likely not the daily lives of our audience members. We are ARTISTS, individuals expressing our passion for the unknown, the mysterious, the awe inspiring.

There are many things that irk me about the industry, but it does not reflect in my performances. Find everything you don't like about the current state of mentalism and use that to become the opposite. What will truly make you shine as an artist, a performer, a creator or anything else in life is your ability to be uniquely 'you'. When I make purchases I see it in the same way a painter would buy new brushes and paint. The ART comes from what I can do with those brushes and paint, not the items themselves. We're arguing over the price of our tools when all our audience wants is the masterpiece we create. I cannot change the prices or quality of new releases, but I can use my intellect to determine whether or not it's right for me personally, and what I do.

If we woke up tomorrow morning and suddenly every mentalism product in the world was only $1 each, sure it would give us greater access to more, but what would that do to us as artists? Would we continue to value our art? Also, what would that do to our art itself? AND would creators still be motivated to continue to create, or would they just keep their work for their own performances?

This is a path we must carve for ourselves and if we choose to acquire tools made by others, surely they should earn something for their contribution to our path? After all it's us approaching their work, they are not forcing us.

Just thought I'd share my opinion on this.

Best wishes to all,

Your brother,

Lewis x
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 6, 2019 09:44PM)
Iím not going to bother reading this thread. Most mentalism is overpriced because itís more or less just regurgitation of the same old sh!t. Not original or useful enough to justify the cost. I canít believe how many BS pipe dreams delusional mentalists have pursued for the past fifteen years or so.

No offense. Some great stuff has also been published and/or released. Just not a lot. Mentalism is really going through a really weird developmental phase right now. I donít know exactly how itís all going to work out.
Message: Posted by: LewisLeVal (Nov 7, 2019 03:31AM)
Hi Ben, I see where you are coming from, I agree. There's nothing worse than spending good money on something with a promising ad copy, only to be disappointed by what you receive. The market is full of rubbish, and nowadays I spend a lot less on mentalism purchases than I used to.

I think if anything is to actually come from this thread, it's that mentalists must personally take control of their own development and model of what mentalism is. As a collective entity, if we fail to make necessary changes now, mentalism will automatically fall into the most likely future outcome, which is looking weird indeed. But collectively we cannot seem to make these changes. Mentalists and magicians get caught up in waves without realising they can make their own waves. The central point of development or evolution of mentalism doesn't have to come from within the industry or the marketplace, I feel it should come from all of us as individuals out there on the front line, presenting our art to the world, and we can do this automatically by being the opposite of everything we don't like about the current state of mentalism.

Almost all notable artists in history changed what they didn't like. They broke free of the accepted, expected artistic and societal constructs and paradigms and refused to follow the crowds. Surrealism, abstract expressionism and dadaism, to name a few, were all born out of the artists' demand for change.

I'm not saying we should start a movement (or maybe we should...), I'm just saying how can we continue to call ourselves artists if we are unwilling to behave as such, unwilling to challenge or change that which does not suit our own ideas of what our art should be. We don't have to all ride the same bus and complain about the journey.

I'm not aiming this at you Ben, just speaking to anyone interested in my ramblings :)
Message: Posted by: LewisLeVal (Nov 7, 2019 03:38AM)
I feel I should add performance art to the above list, as that too came from those unwilling to ride the same waves. As performance artists ourselves, we too should break free of the box, whilst simultaneously realising there is no box.