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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » All Mentalism is now overpriced (100 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Stunninger
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On Aug 15, 2019, IAIN wrote:
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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/



how DARE they put mentalism in a MAGIC warehouse! This is an outrage!


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

I bet those magicians are behind this...
Race Blakhart
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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/



how DARE they put mentalism in a MAGIC warehouse! This is an outrage!


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

I bet those magicians are behind this...


This is why I love you two's posts haha
(Not U2's posts...Bono has nothing to do with this.)
mindpunisher
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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.
Race Blakhart
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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.



This is very true.
But being that we have a specific gripe, that isn't universal, I understand where everyone else is coming from.
Paul S Wingham
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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.
Chris K
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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!
Stunninger
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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!


Well said!
Martin Pulman
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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!

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.
IAIN
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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...
WitchDocChris
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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.
Christopher
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IAIN
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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...
IAIN
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I agree though about badly performed stuff...but not just by magicians. But by overly aeolistic and dull mentalists too...
Martin Pulman
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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....


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.
Race Blakhart
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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.
WitchDocChris
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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.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Martin Pulman
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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.


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.
Mark_Chandaue
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I’m 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 don’t 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 isn’t 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 isn’t hitting its mark or the description isn’t 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
Harpacrown is available from
http://www.harpacrown.co.uk
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WitchDocChris
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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.


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.
Christopher
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Martin Pulman
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On Aug 20, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
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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.


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.


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.
Mark_Chandaue
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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 don’t 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
Harpacrown is available from
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Ophiuchus is available from
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