Cassidy's Fundamentals

Apr 25, 2009
459
0
37
Yorktown, VA
Alright, so I just finished reading the 89 pages of this ebook, and I am not that impressed. For how highly people recommend this book, I really didn't get that much out of it. Granted: the main theme of developing your character was one that I was glad he hit on, and repeatedly. But other than that, I didn't like the tricks and I didn't like all the random questions from right field that he kept throwing out. For the price that I paid ($29 for an eBook, not hardbound copy, but an electronic file) Oh, I did like the list of books to read afterward, but you can find stuff like that on any forum for free!!! In fact, I think it was already for free on the web sight I got it from. Is there something I am missing from it???
 
Nov 20, 2007
4,410
6
Sydney, Australia
Alright, so I just finished reading the 89 pages of this ebook, and I am not that impressed. For how highly people recommend this book, I really didn't get that much out of it. Granted: the main theme of developing your character was one that I was glad he hit on, and repeatedly. But other than that, I didn't like the tricks and I didn't like all the random questions from right field that he kept throwing out. For the price that I paid ($29 for an eBook, not hardbound copy, but an electronic file) Oh, I did like the list of books to read afterward, but you can find stuff like that on any forum for free!!! In fact, I think it was already for free on the web sight I got it from. Is there something I am missing from it???

Yep.. Fair question. Let me elaborate a little.

I didn't like the tricks and I didn't like all the random questions from right field that he kept throwing out.

If you didn't like the tricks, you missed the point of them. Fundamentals does not teach you tricks. The tricks themselves are ordinary, very admittedly. You can find much more interesting tricks. I'm currently studying a trick where you influence and control the muscular movements of two spectators. THAT is an interesting trick. I'm studying another trick where a spectator declares heads or tails - and if they get it wrong, you slice a razor across your wrist. That's an interesting premise. My favourite trick is my ACAAN. That's inherently interesting. Any number, any card, magi doesn't touch the deck.

There are many great effects everywhere, but that is not the point. One of the most important lessons to learn is this: the trick is meaningless. How you present the trick is everything. You know how he asks you to think about how different personas would present the trick? That's important. You should learn from that the importance of presentation and persona. More importantly, you should learn from that what is important in mentalism. Implicitly, Cassidy teaches you what is required in good mentalism. Things like showing the audience the apparent process behind the effect. Consider this: One of mentalism's difficult points is that it's rarely visual. There's nothing going on the spectator can physically see during the process, only the result. So, one challenge is to give the audience a process. You do that depending on who you are and how you present the effect. This is one of the secrets of successful mentalism. You cannot perform it like card magic.

Granted: the main theme of developing your character was one that I was glad he hit on, and repeatedly. But other than that...

It's not just the main theme of the manuscript, KoS. It is the main theme of mentalism. More than any other branch of magic, I feel, character is crucial here. It is the thing that draws together any mentalism performance. Here's the thing: Mentalism is a demonstration of some sort of ability, right? Well, because of that, mentalism is the one field of magic, which, logically, in today's day and age, is feasible. Card magic, coin magic, rope magic - it's all amazing, but it's fundamentally a trick by construction and by logic. It's one thing to circumvent it, but mentalism is inherently possible, at least a lot of it is. There is more mystery surrounding it than any other, in my opinion. Therefore, the single most important difference that sets mentalism apart is that it CANNOT carry the slightest hint of a trick. At all. The slightest motion will destroy the illusion, and it's a fragile illusion. That's why character is so important. It IS mentalism.

Take for example some sort of mind reading. They think of someone, you tell them who they're thinking of, where they live, and their relation to the person; possibly their phone number. I was reading this the other day. The amazing thing, I think, about this is not "He read my mind!" but rather, "How did he read my mind?! Is that possible?" The latter opens up so many possibilities.

Compare this to, say, a Reset routine. The amazing thing is "The Aces and the Kings transposed! That's impossible!" Here, it is amazing because it is impossible.

Personally, I find that what is possible is inherently more interesting than the impossible, because it makes the effect personal. No longer is the magi simply performing something impossible - the question is, implicitly, "Could I do this? How was I involved?"

I know that these are things that I guess don't necessarily come to you straight away. But if you do think about it, it makes sense, right? I hope it does, anyway.

The reason why Fundamentals is so recommended, and personally recommended by me, is this. It doesn't teach you tricks. It contains tricks, but they teach you not tricks, but about mentalism. Fundamentals teaches you about mentalism. Perhaps not entirely explicitly - but within those pages are so, so many lessons about what mentalism is, what it involves, and how to successfully present mentalism - it teaches you about mentalism. Because that's the secret to performing it well. The lessons are in there, and they're often hard to find, but they're in there.

Fundamentals teaches you about mentalism. Any conjuror can perform mentalism tricks. You can find an endless supply of them. If you want to know more, feel free to ask. But it takes someone who knows about mentalism to perform it well - otherwise, it's just a trick. And that's not what mentalism fundamentally should be.

I hope this all makes sense, and if you have any questions/objections/etc, feel free to ask.
 
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Apr 25, 2009
459
0
37
Yorktown, VA
I learned from Fundamentals a bit, and I fully understand what Cassidy was trying to get across to me, the reader. I just feel that it could have been done in a ten page essay. Maybe the other reason that I found it so much of a let down is because it is for the bare bone beginner, and I am not one. I am just a someone who wants to brush up on my basics because I have been focusing on the wrong aspects of magic. At least I was able to clarify what I will become on the stage. Thanks for the constant advice though, it helps to see things through other people's eyes =)
 
Jan 26, 2008
419
1
Sweden
Want to brush up on your basics in mentalism? My first advice :

Take acting classes or buy lots of books on acting and brush up on your acting skills, mentalism is almost ALL acting, the modus operandi behind mentalism effects are most of the time very simple and even the effects can seem to be boring if you dont understand that, its what you make of it.

My second advice is :

Go out and performe A LOT!! both magic and mentalism. Mentalism and magic also is about communication and you have to learn how to communicate with ease durring your performance, this is more important then any secret in mentalism because mentalism is mostly acting and communication.


Most books on mentalism can seem very boring at first because there are no cool secrets or cool effects, its what you make of it.
 
Nov 20, 2007
4,410
6
Sydney, Australia
I learned from Fundamentals a bit, and I fully understand what Cassidy was trying to get across to me, the reader. I just feel that it could have been done in a ten page essay. Maybe the other reason that I found it so much of a let down is because it is for the bare bone beginner, and I am not one. I am just a someone who wants to brush up on my basics because I have been focusing on the wrong aspects of magic. At least I was able to clarify what I will become on the stage. Thanks for the constant advice though, it helps to see things through other people's eyes =)

It could've been done in a ten page essay - but I would argue that even fewer people would learn anything from it then. I like essays, I'm good at writing them, and I don't mind reading them - but a lot of people do.

Also... I would also like to point out that what I've highlighted are but two lessons. I would be extremely surprised if you couldn't learn something new from it if you read it again in a year. It may be a complete introduction, but that doesn't mean it's for the beginner only.

For example, I would also find it likely that if you were to list all the lessons you've learned from Fundamentals, that I could list to you half a dozen that you may have missed.

Certainly, and completely respectfully, some of your comments here and initially suggest to me that you've missed at least part of the point and part of the lessons within.

It's an introduction to mentalism no beginner could ever fully comprehend. What you will become on stage is only a small part of Fundamentals. It dedicates a lot of time to the importance of a persona - but that's not the lesson to be learned.
 
Nov 20, 2007
4,410
6
Sydney, Australia
Want to brush up on your basics in mentalism? My first advice :

Take acting classes or buy lots of books on acting and brush up on your acting skills, mentalism is almost ALL acting, the modus operandi behind mentalism effects are most of the time very simple and even the effects can seem to be boring if you dont understand that, its what you make of it.

My second advice is :

Go out and performe A LOT!! both magic and mentalism. Mentalism and magic also is about communication and you have to learn how to communicate with ease durring your performance, this is more important then any secret in mentalism because mentalism is mostly acting and communication.


Most books on mentalism can seem very boring at first because there are no cool secrets or cool effects, its what you make of it.

This advice is good advice, but I would like to fill in one more detail.

There are many systems of acting in existence. Many ways of performing theatre. It is popular to quote Stanislavski and his System, but that's only one.

So which one is the correct one?

Which leads me to my only point to make here: performance is useless if you don't know how. Employing actor training is useless if it is applied in the wrong way. Both of these things will happen if you don't understand what it is you are performing.
 
Nov 23, 2009
6
0
For an alternative viewpoint on the value of acting lessons as it relates to magic, take a look at Robert Giobbi's superb essay in the May issue of Genii magazine.

Giobbi goes against most advice you hear people give regarding the importance of acting lessons, and it's worth reading.
 
Apr 25, 2009
459
0
37
Yorktown, VA
I respect everyone's opinion, and maybe as I go deeper into Mentalism, I will thank you all for the advice. Maybe I was just looking for something like Modern Coin Magic or Royal Road where it teaches a basic move and then some basic insights of application. Maybe Mentalism isn't my cup of tea (though I will try and make it mine). The list goes on, and I thank you all, especially Prae (I don't even want to try and finish spelling that) for giving me your input. Prae, I will probably randomly message you one of these days for some more advice. =)
 
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