The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Too soon for mentalism? (14 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
pciccaglione
View Profile
New user
6 Posts

Profile of pciccaglione
I've seen a number of magicians telling beginners that they need to stay away from mentalism in the early stages of magic. What is the reasoning behind this? Also how does one know when they are "ready" for mentalism?
funsway
View Profile
Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
8511 Posts

Profile of funsway
The only think I can think of is that that "sneaky moves" a mentalist might employ must be perfect.
To flub a sleight is fatal for a mentalist, but easily overlooked or dismissed my a conjuring type performer.

Why? It is the expectations of the audience. Many paying to see a mentalist want validation for what they already believe or desire to.
When you execute a Utility Switch of billet and mess it up, you have destroyed the entire premise of your presentation and shattered expectations.

Many beginners perform without adequate practice or preparations. They do not care if their sloppiness reveals method. All for fun and "gotcha" right?
So, wiser folks tell them not to do mentalism until they learn that NO effect should be performed than might reveal method.

It is not about "beginner" - it is about maturity and respect. Some will never "be ready" -- for mentalism or life.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Ray Pierce
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2246 Posts

Profile of Ray Pierce
It is challenging to see younger people trying to pull off mentalism successfully. If they can pull off the "child prodigy" well, it is possible. When we are still in discovery of how our own mind works, it's hard to believe we could master how to understand/control the minds of others.
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
WitchDocChris
View Profile
Inner circle
York, PA
2247 Posts

Profile of WitchDocChris
I actually think that someone can start with mentalism right away - but they need to understand they are going to spend a lot more time in the "Getting it right" phase than they will with magic.

Many people treat mentalism as if it were magic, and it's not. It requires a different approach, theatrically, and people who try to do mentalism with a "tada!" kind of climax often find it falls flat.

Mentalism requires spending much more time and effort on the theatrical aspect. The 'acting' as it were, as well as the store you've selling the audience. You can't just do the moves and expect the audience to be amazed. Or even interested.

But, if one had the right resources and the cleverness to figure out a working character/persona, and the dedication to developing the theatrical skills - no reason they couldn't start out with mentalism.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
pciccaglione
View Profile
New user
6 Posts

Profile of pciccaglione
Thank you all for the responses, could you recommend any books on Mentalism? I've heard that 13 Steps is a good place to start...
WitchDocChris
View Profile
Inner circle
York, PA
2247 Posts

Profile of WitchDocChris
I personally feel like starting mentalism with 13 Steps is like learning English from the Dictionary.

It teaches all kinds of skills that are essential to contemporary mentalism, sure, but it doesn't teach (Unless I'm forgetting) the theatrical skills required to make them work.

Maximum Entertainment (2.0 was just released for the same price as the original), and Scripting Magic will help a lot with that aspect.

But really - about a third of my library is specifically mentalism. I'd recommend almost all of them.

As Paul Draper once quoted Max Maven saying, "Read everything."
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Mr. Woolery
View Profile
Inner circle
Fairbanks, AK
1701 Posts

Profile of Mr. Woolery
I’m not a pro, so my advice may be different from others. I think it is important to start with your premise. Are you using telepathy? Psychometric? Body language and psychology? Pick the powers you want to show. That will guide your choice of material.

Next, pick out perhaps 3 tricks. They should all support your premise and demonstrate the ability you are using.

Example: if you use psychokinesis, learn to bend a spoon, do a coin bend, maybe to move a pen on a table surface.

Another: if telepathy is your thing, you might learn to p**k a word on a folded paper, divine the number on a die, and use a psyche f*rce to project a thought to the participants.

If you can make those tricks entertaining and if people perceive them as real or possibly real, but not as tricks or magic, then you are on the road to really performing mentalism. At that point, all the mentalism books are going to be useful to you. Getting the skills to make your performance feel real is not going to be instant. When people stop asking “how did you do that?” and start asking whether you were always able to do this or can it be learned, then you’ve learned to look real.

A huge number of things that can be done with cards can look psychic if done with conviction. Not everyone accepts that a psychic would use cards and I’m not up for a debate. I merely mention it.

Another general suggestion is that you could learn a method of fortune telling and that goes over well. I personally suggest either palmistry or playing cards.

Hope that helps. My youngest has been yammering at me, so it has been a challenge to get my thoughts down.

Patrick
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9510 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
Quote:
On Sep 1, 2019, pciccaglione wrote:
I've seen a number of magicians telling beginners that they need to stay away from mentalism in the early stages of magic. What is the reasoning behind this? Also how does one know when they are "ready" for mentalism?


I think the reason for this is several, which most coming to mentalism don't understand or realize.

To expand on what Mr. Wollery mention, even more than premise is your initial belief and understanding of what mentalism is and what your perception and definitional approach will be. Let me explain...

As you will soon find out if you spend any time in the three mentalism forums here, there is a foundational difference in what mentalism is. There is the magician's definition of mentalism, which like hypnosis, varies from those actually in the mentalism or hypnosis industry. Most magicians see mentalism as mental-themed magic or what is called mental magic. This is different from actual mentalism for specific reasons.

Let's start at the foundational level. Magic is known to audiences to be tricks, slights, illusion, deception...not real. They go into a magic or illusion show knowing this and this is the known and accepted foundation.

Mentalism is just the exact opposite. People do not come to a mentalism performance to see tricks, illusions, or deceptions. Many believe that mentalism is real or that at the very least has the possibility to be real. Often they want it to be real. They often believe the mentalist has abilities or special unique abilities that others do not. And the better you perform, execute and showcase this, the more is believed and accepted as real.

So as you can see these are complete opposites in both perception, expectations from the audience's perspective. An audience member would be pis**d if they paid admission and went to see a mentalist only to find he was just a magician doing mental-themed tricks. I have seen this happen.

Magician's mentalism has no psi or psychic elements to it. This is what many magic-mentalists don't often understand. They perform a non-psi type of magic mentalism without any claims, offering, or the responsibility that comes from a mentalism approach. Simply out, magician's perception and definition of mentalism is different from the entertainment industry or mental arts industry's belief and understanding of mentalism.

So there is the first concern. Secondly, because of the way audiences accept, perceive and beliefs toward mentalism there are expectations and responsibilities that come with it. Far beyond anything magicians experience. So there is much more education, theory, and understanding with mentalism than with magic. There are several different layers with mentalism beyond just the magicisn's typical learn the trick, slights, props or accessories needed, create a presentation and perform it. Much more to mentalism. There must also be a congruency with mentalism that doesn't exist with magic.

The magic community has kind of written its own accepted definition of what they want mentalism to be - no claims, no real psi abilities, but rather the use of watered-down approached of body language, NLP, and some of the powers Mr. Woolery mentioned. Most magicians perform this from their own perspectives and beliefs, not the booker or the audiences.

Next is the misunderstanding that everyone comes to mentalism through or from magic. That is how magicians think and unfortunately how most believe here since this is a magic forum. In reality, many mentalists do not enter mentalism via magic, they know absolutely no magic or anything about magic, they come from the mental arts such as hypnosis, memory, psychology, the psychic world, new age, etc.

So there is a depth of study and understanding with mentalism much deeper and detailed than with magic (unless of course, you are only doing mental magic). Most magicians don't want to commit to this study and understanding and then just prefer to do something that resembles mentalism without any claims, real abilities, proper foundation, premise and true understanding of the mental arts and everything it entails. Plus even magic mentalism performed badly hurts both them mentalism and magic industries.

There is much more to this, but I think these iwll provide you with at least a basic, initial understanding of the differences and why you are hearing this from others.

Best of luck in your journey. Don't rush it. You can't rush knowledge and experience.
funsway
View Profile
Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
8511 Posts

Profile of funsway
Mindpro, I did not respond to your fine post since I agree with 95% or so. But a thought has been nagging at me --
most about this advice being for those "new to magic" or those desiring a refresher course.

You seem to miss or avoid the notion that a single performer can properly present conjuring, mental magic and mentalism.
Not most, certainly. Not advisable for youth or a beginner for reasons stated by others above.
Most would never do the work required to be "here and now" for the expectations of the audience, setting, character and personal discipline.

But, it is not a complete view of things to infer that a performer must choose one camp or another, one definition or another, or be limited by what others think at all.

Yes - it is unwise to combine these forms of the mystic arts until one has the experience, maturity and presence to properly engage the audience of the moment.
It is unwise to perform any effect that is not well practiced and appropriate.

Yet, it is also unwise to suggest that any person must be limited in what they choose to learn and communicate with others. ( not TO others).

Your "depth of study and understanding" comment suggests that you have not yet learned the "deeper and more detailed" aspects of conjuring. (opinion)
Adapting your phrase, "Most mentalists don't want to commit to this study and understanding ..."

LIfe is not a true/false quiz or a multiple choice exam of options provided by others.
These are ways of determining if one is moving forward in personal learning and useful experience. They are not boxes in which to plunk one's hopes and aspirations.

BAck to the OP. Is one ever "ready for mentalism?" or any form of magic, or exploring the impossible by any definition?

Methinks "getting out and doing" of the mystic arts has value over vicarious voyeurism regardless of the level of skill.
What is the story the observer will tell afterwards? What will the performer learn from the experience?

It is a journey for both.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
TomB
View Profile
Regular user
173 Posts

Profile of TomB
My daughter was doing mentalism at the age of 9. To get the answer, it usually was a little clumsy. Eye control was her biggest obstacle. She used a small screen to hide anything, if needed. Once she had the answer, she was fine with the theatrics. The theatrics was usually a hand raised in the air, and slowly reading their minds.

For her, mentalism was far easier than sleight of hand magic which takes practice.

Mentalism was more precise and very successful without skill.

I would say, go for it.
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9510 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
Spoken like a true magician! Just to be clear your daughter performed mental magic, not mentalism. That is EXACTLY my point to the OP. You must have a true foundational understanding of what mentalism is and a proper studying of the principals and related theories which can take years to truly understand, otherwise, you are just performing magic.

TomB mentalism requires much more skill than you are understanding yourself. Comparing mentalism to sleight of hand is nowhere even comparable. You are thinking only in terms of execution (as most magicians do) of a mental-themed trick or effect, not actual mentalism, sorry.
funsway
View Profile
Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
8511 Posts

Profile of funsway
Please consider this post from 2015
https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......forum=15
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
TomB
View Profile
Regular user
173 Posts

Profile of TomB
So you have mental magic, where a magician claims to reads minds but the audience knows it's deception.

Or you have a mentalist, where the audience believes the deception is real and he can read the minds.

I do not see a difference between the type of deception between the two. The major difference is what the audience thinks.

Houdini went out of his way to prove psychics were fake. I know Penn and Teller has went out their way to say all mentalists are fake.

I guess I am a little surprised that magicians share the same deceptions and not more exposure.

I never had thought of mentalism as evil, but using your definition it is. If you are religious, the supernatural only would come from God or the devil. Therefore, if God is not helping you read minds, then the devil is (if it is God helping you are a prophet). Alternatively, if you are not religious, you are knowing lying to your audience.

I have assumed that everyone knows mentalists are fake. They have very good skills and are very entertaining. I would classify them as a sub-genre of magic. Otherwise, they are just frauds.

Am I correct or did I go down a dark path?
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9510 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
Quote:
On Sep 5, 2019, funsway wrote:

You seem to miss or avoid the notion that a single performer can properly present conjuring, mental magic and mentalism.
Not most, certainly. Not advisable for youth or a beginner for reasons stated by others above.

Your "depth of study and understanding" comment suggests that you have not yet learned the "deeper and more detailed" aspects of conjuring. (opinion)
Adapting your phrase, "Most mentalists don't want to commit to this study and understanding ..."



Funsway, sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

As you said it is rare that even top professionals can truly pull off performing magic and mentalism together.

You are correct in your statement "Your "depth of study and understanding" comment suggests that you have not yet learned the "deeper and more detailed" aspects of conjuring. (opinion)" You are correct as I am one of those that did not come to mentalism through magic, but rather the mental arts, so no, I have not learned the deeper and more detailed aspects of conjuring from a performing perspective.

I have no interest in performing magic although through my agencies and production companies I have booked and produced magic acts and shows for over 35 years. To do this the detailed aspects of conjuring are not necessary, nor does it have an effect on my mentalism at all.

I agree that none of this is for beginners and exactly why the OP was hearing such from others trying to offer his some sound advice and assistance in learning magic.
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9510 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
Quote:
On Sep 5, 2019, TomB wrote:
So you have mental magic, where a magician claims to reads minds but the audience knows it's deception.

Or you have a mentalist, where the audience believes the deception is real and he can read the minds.

I do not see a difference between the type of deception between the two.


I have assumed that everyone knows mentalists are fake.



Seems you have a very limited and perhaps jaded perspective of what mentalism is. I know many mentalists that use no deception in their performances. I also know many that perform mentalism for real without any use of magic of any kind as discussed in many other threads here.

As I said, what you are thinking of mentalism is really mental magic - two very different things. I assure you people that come to these mentalism shows believe it to be real when they come, and leave believing it is even more real than they may have expected. Again, the difference between "magiciain's mentlaism and actual mentalism. It is also waaay beyond the scope of this beginners forum.
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9510 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
Quote:
On Sep 5, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
"Most mentalists don't want to commit to this study and understanding ..."


I meant to say here most "magicians" don't want to commit to this study and understanding..." Sorry for the confusion.
funsway
View Profile
Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
8511 Posts

Profile of funsway
TomB - then how do you ascribe demonstrations of abilities normal for some, but considered "other than normal for others?"

Pendulum work, for example. There is nothing paranormal or psychic about its working - anyone can do it. Yet, some can do more extraordinary things with this tool than others.
Its use can be very entertaining. I personally do no think it is mentalism and than anyone claiming to be a mentalist and uses one is poisoning their well.

I can direct the action of a pendulum held by another person across the room. Some might say that makes me a mentalist or wizard or alien.
My ability to do this has nothing to do with any label any other person would assign. I am not a magician either as no trick or deception is involved.

it isn't real magic since I can repeat the demonstration and teach others.

The entire "secret" is getting the entire audience involved and expecting the"impossible" result. They empower the movement of the pendulum, not I.

maybe "mentalists are fakes." That does not mean that demonstrating events considered impossible are need be faked at all.
They are faked because that is what folks find entertaining.

What the audience thinks is that they are capable of being more than they are right now (hope) and appreciate demonstrations that kindle or support that notion.
That emotional and impact (affect) is real. It is not faked. The problem is those who shatter the illusion though ineptness, false claim, deliberate exposure or mean intent.

All "pretenders at magic" are "real" - they promise to deliver a demonstration of the impossible and then do just that.

Back to the OP question. Do not pursue mentalism unless you are physically. mentally and ethically able to support the weight of your audience's expectations and fears.
Yet, do not pretend you are anything special because you choose that focus. The same argument can apply to conjuring.

You are special because you willing do what most people will not -- stand up and put yourself at risk before peers and strangers. That is impossible for most.
Demonstrating the perceived impossible is called "magic." Make the most of it.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
TomB
View Profile
Regular user
173 Posts

Profile of TomB
I would say the only reason magicians keep the secrets of deception is because they are honest that they do not have any supernatural powers. In fact, when a magician pretends to have supernatural powers they are usually outed and exposed and shunned pretty quickly. However, during the climb pretending to have real powers, they can get quite popular, ala Cris Angel.

I totally see mentalism as mental magic. As a magician, I would naturally keep the secrets.
In fact, I would argue mentalism is a small subset of magic, mental magic. What does a mentalism repoitoire consisnt of... A mentalists can read your mind? Prediction writings? Or maybe they can control objects with their mind such as an exploding light bulb or have a page in a book move with deep concentration. Or maybe they have x-ray vision. All these tricks magicians can do, but are the lifeblood of a mentalist.

However, if someone was pretending to have supernatural powers, I would expect others to expose them as the frauds they are ala James Randi, where you set up the conditions to show it is just chance or remove their unfair edge and watch them fail miserably.

Just as magicians having supernatural powers makes you more believable, so does a mentalist. However, it hurts the whole magic community by having frauds. There are guillible people who want to believe in psychics, mentalists, and magicians as having real powers. I hope you do not claim to actually have them.
Ravenspur
View Profile
Regular user
Granby, MA
119 Posts

Profile of Ravenspur
To get past the mentalist definition, focus on what you tricks you want to do, rather what qualifies as mentalism. Definitions have a tendency to bend reality rather than capture it.

If you want to perform tricks like Banachek, Max Maven, or Derren Brown, focus on studying them and learning those skills. They may imply that they have super, though not supernatural, powers, but they are skillful practitioners of magic.

I've been studying magic for less than a year and much of that time has been figuring out on what I want to focus on. Right now, I'm working with coins and some card sleights and shuffles. But because I needed something to perform that wasn't too hard to learn, and because it fits my personality, and because my high school students are my willing, if captive, audience, I tend to perform mental magic tricks. I pretend that I can read, not their minds, but their faces and actions. For ethical reasons, I haven't pursued palmistry or doing "psychic" readings. Phedon Bilek has some good stuff on that, but I can't do readings of my students with a clear conscience.

Here are some of the tricks I do:

1. A heads or tails trick "mindreading" effect recommended by Wrayn in which a participant puts a coin in a special, closed container and you say whether he put it in heads or tails up.
2. iForce is a prediction effect.
3. Tequila Hustler, a "which hand" effect. I tell someone which hand they put a coin in.

All these are mental effects--they give the appearance of mind-reading or something like mindreading. They can be learned, practiced, and performed without ever learning a double lift, false shuffle, or a coin vanish. These kinds of effects require more presentation skill than mechanical skill. Some people may warn you off mentalism because you need to know how to interact with an audience whereas a lot of tricks are more mechanical and can be performed without knowing how to work with an audience.
Mindpro
View Profile
Inner circle
9510 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
If you are doing "tricks" you aren't doing mentalism. This is so sad.

And what's even worse is the inexperienced guys are telling pros how it is. Too many talking when they should be listening.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Too soon for mentalism? (14 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5~6~7 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.25 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL