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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ebooks, PDF's or Downloads » » Mentalism My Way by Paul Stockman (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of jekyllandhyde
Can someone who purchased this ebook please post a review?
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Profile of Mind Guerrilla
On 2010-09-23 15:27, jekyllandhyde wrote:
Can someone who purchased this ebook please post a review?


Paul Stockman likes to play it close to the vest. In his new 93 page eBook, “Mentalism My Way” (15.00 GBP/24.36 USD), he so scrupulously avoids giving away details that it's unlikely anyone will walk away with anything they don't already know. The chapters tend to read like generalized prologues to more detailed chapters that don't exist.

He discusses pre-show but he doesn't discuss p**-s***, if you know what I mean. This chapter deals with the best way to introduce yourself to an audience. It does not discuss the nuts and bolts of obtaining information in advance or setting something up with a spectator beforehand. Maybe Mr. Stockman simply doesn't use such techniques(He doesn't say, one way or the other.). The generic information in this chapter seems designed to cover all types of performances. This makes one want to double-check the title, “Mentalism, My Way”, and question its validity. There is nothing said about the use of an agent, how to get bookings or how to design one's web site. Also absent is any discussion of what happens after his show, e.g. does he duck out the back way or stick around to meet/greet/field questions?

If you want to forget the title, “Mentalism, My Way”, and accept this work as an incomplete collection of broad advice then the chapter where the author gives his opinion on shows that mix magic and mentalism will stick out like a sore thumb. It may also make you wish there were similar chapters on disclaimers, stooging, playing cards and covert electronics.

The author spends a lot of time emphasizing the need to rehearse and to have a good working relationship with the backstage crew, yet never discusses the possibility of holding a full technical run-through. This is a luxury that is not always possible, of course, but it might have been worth mentioning.

His chapter on dealing with difficult audience members is one of the better sections of the book. In it he discusses a helpful clause in his contract for the worst case scenario. It made me wish he had provided a copy of the entire contract. Beyond this, you won't find much here that couldn't be found by doing a search on the Magic Café. Mr. Stockman's advice on dealing with a heckling skeptic seems easier said than done: He suggests using a “sure fire, quick...mind-boggling” effect “that is completely foolproof and impossible to work out.” Of course, he doesn't say what type of effect he means, let alone hint at a specific one. It reminds me of that cartoon where the mathematicians "solve" a complex problem by writing "then a miracle occurs" in the middle of the equation on their blackboard.

There's a chapter on storytelling but the author doesn't share any of the stories he has used as examples. He refers readers to “The Sweets Jar” on his CONNECTED DVD. He then goes on to admit that the disc does not reflect the story the way he actually tells it!

No mention is made of any of the pioneers of mentalism nor is any recommended reading list given. Mr. Stockman is teaching us here but who taught him? A novice unfamiliar with the history of mentalism might read this book and almost conclude that the author invented the art form from scratch. By the way, “The Sweets Jar” is not exactly an original creation. See “Guessin' Gumballs” by Jack Dean from SYZYGY vol. 1. #5.

The author's seemingly fanatical aversion to provide any specifics reaches a level of almost laughable absurdity in his chapter on background music. He does not give one example of a specific music track. Safeguarding your effects/act is one thing but concealing the name of a musical piece that you, yourself, have borrowed seems a bit much. He suggests using “psychological sounding music”. I don't know what this means. The soundtrack from PSYCHO? Here, again, an example or two might have been nice.

There are some typos in this book but not as many as are typically seen in books churned out these days. That being said, these typos may jump out at the reader a bit more since Mr. Stockman emphasizes how he likes to hone his scripts with multiple rewrites. In his pre-show chapter he insists that a performer's posters be produced by professional printers so as to give your audience the impression that they are seeing a polished professional. He advises against coming across as a "cheapskate”. The same could be said for hiring a proofreader to go over your book before it's published.

The guarded tone of this book makes the contents come across more like reluctant testiony from a hostile witness to some upstart District Attorney than lessons from an experienced master to an eager pupil. The author seems to be constantly trying to protect his act from those he refers to as jealous “ego driven wannabes” (I resemble that remark!). It's like reading a press release from BP which has been vetted by so many attorneys that most of the substance has been removed. I won't dispute that Mr. Stockman is a world class performer. Judging by this book, however, instructional material isn't his forte and would be better left to those more generous in their dispensing of information, especially if 24 bucks is going to be charged for it.

"Mentalism My Way" is to be serialized in Europe's industry magazine Magicseen over the coming months. If you're a subscriber, you may as well wait for it.
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Profile of mentalmagic101
I really enjoyed this book and although I have been a full time stage worker for many years I found some gems in this book that have given me some new ideas for my show.

If you are just starting out with stage work or considering putting a stand up or stage show together this book is a must.

O.K Paul doesn't go into every little detail, but to be honest I don't want a list of tunes to use. I can decide on my own music.

This is a collection of essays rather than a full book, but essays that will spark your emotions and provide the reader with some useful thoughts and ideas from a working professional.

I truly wish more would be written about the subject matter in other publications.

Well done Paul for sharing. Worth every penny.

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Profile of willsy
To me Paul's book is both thought provoking and insightful. I believe the craft of Mentalism should be one where when in 'performance mode' you can concentrate almost fully on the show. The method itself and indeed the routine is one that should be well and truly taken care of in advance. Preparation is the key, and Paul discusses the 90% performance 10% method ratio which I tend to agree with.

Narrative and scripting is discussed in length and this book did get me thinking about the way I currently work and what I can change in my approach and indeed the time that should be spent on this important topic.

For me it was good to know that a working performer with years of experience gets by with simplicity itself.

Getting back to common sense ideas made me feel that this business can get very complicated with methodologies, cleverness and so forth. Back to basics is what Paul discusses and I for one enjoyed the read.

If your looking for secrets and methods this is not the book for you, but then if it was it would be called 'Secrets and Methods my way' wouldn't it?

It's 'Mentalism my way', and your going to purchase this because you've got an interest in Mentalism or maybe you already like Paul’s' work and want to get a bit of an inside view on how he prepares for his own Mentalism show.

Even if you are looking at structuring and building a show and your a 'Magician' not a 'Mentalist', Paul talks about audience management, and this of course is not just confined to the world of Mentalism but can be applied to any genre of Magic.

For me it was a steal at $25 Aus dollars for a 90 odd page book. It was indicated that this was a special price, so you might want to get in quick at that price (15 pounds if you’re in the UK). US dollar not far off Australian at the moment, so about the same $24/$25 US.

Paul is a very down to earth performer and you get the feeling reading his book that he is all about helping people out.

I for one would recommend you buy this and I thank Paul for sharing his ideas in publication.
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