Combining Mentalism and Sleight Of Hand...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Luis Vega, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Hello everyone!!

    So I have been performing both kinds of magic for some time now...always separately..sure...I do have some mentalism tricks in my set and I have some sleight of hand tricks in my mentalism routines...but I decided to start creating a show with both on it...

    Now...I know it´s difficult and I am starting to check what can I do...but I was thinking on separating both kinds with an interlude and then a clothes change (not a drastic change, but more minimal than my sleight of hand set) and I am starting to write the main concept of the show..then I chose the routines...

    my question here is...welll actually it´s more like a call to all mentalists to give me ideas and help me out by giving me pointers, advice, criticism...etc...

    Edit: I think one of my biggest concerns is the transition between both kinds....
    I do have a lot of time (whenever I want, since I don´t have a date to fulfill) so I am more concentrated in the main concept..anyway...I am listening...
  2. This is one of the questions, I think, that will never be resolved (much like playing cards & mentalism).

    Personally, I'm ok with it, but here are some thoughts...

    -What is the difference between mentalism and mental magic? The answer is one of the biggest concerns many people have with putting magic and mentalism in the same show.

    -Some very famous mentalists have certainly put magic in their mentalism shows. But what is often less noted is that magic filled a very specific portion of the show. It was used very deliberately, and mentalism was indubitably the sole star of the show.
  3. I agree with Prae if you want to combine the two than fine however you need to create the space between the two. I find that if I ever combine the two the mentalism needs to be even stronger and more hands off in approach. The audience should accept that you sleight of hand skills are top notch, so to make the mentalism more real you need even more distance from your hands and the props.

    So in short you can combine the two but you need to do the mentalism with more of a clean apperance.
  4. Maybe you could use Dresscode for the clothes change.
  5. Please don't. Worst idea of 2011 thus far.
  6. thanks for the suggestion..but I don`t understand why is everybody suggesting Dresscode for everything and everything..sure it`s a nice trick but it has situations...

    Anyway...back on topic...

    mental magic is just regular magic with a mental theme...I guess I am going to go with D ICE R suggestion...make it look as clean, fair and natural as posible....

    @ D ICE R

    Great suggestions as always!!
  7. Because most people here do not perform for a living. Or at all.

    That said, if you absolutely must do this, stick to doing one type of mentalism effect. All mind reading, all psychokinesis, whatever. Don't read someone's mind and then try to sweeten the deal by bending a fork. It will only make the mentalism look more like the magic.

  8. I agree.

    Seriously, I don't own Dresscode, never will, but always thought it looked quite good as an effect, but I'm just sick to death of the T11 fanboys suggesting nothing but the latest T11 tricks for every situation.

    People need to realise T11 didn't invent magic... geez...

  9. For maximum "contrast" you could do magic, and then the "mentalism" part would just be Q&A- nothing else. The absolute cleanliness of appearance and minimal use of props would fit the minimalist approach
  10. A Q and A done while bound, either the hands or the full body, could work. As long as the spectators feel there is no way that you the magician could possibly doing "Fast hand" trickery. Just my thoughts, I am in no way a pro.
  11. POINT ONE: Do you want to be seen by the public as a Magician or a Mentalist? Or, are you just going to go with whatever is in current vogue, changing "specialties" as the next big trend comes into view? (which is what 90% of folks tend to do).

    POINT TWO: What are your claims? If you are part of this "New School" mind-set that looks at it all as being "not'n but tricks" then it doesn't matter. On the other hand if you want to create solid mentalism that looks and feels real, that has your audience leaving the auditorium UNCERTAIN. . . well, why are you asking this dumb question, you already know what must be done, so accept that it's time to put the tricks on a shelf to play with here and there when hanging out "with the guys". . . the way the majority of the legends in Mentalism have done over the past century.

    POINT THREE: There is what some jokingly refer to as the "Dunninger Solution" (though old Joe really didn't popularize the method, it was being used in the latter 1800s). You create a full-evening program in which the first 30-60 minutes is pure magic and the following (after intermission) is pure Mind or Spirit Oriented material. This was quite popular in the Victorian era in that resort guests could enjoy a Family Magic Show as part of an early evening meal; once the kiddies were tucked away for the night the Grown-up (mature audience 18 and up) would return for a more intellectually stimulating muse; everything from spiritualistic demonstrations to telepathy & hypnosis.

    A related mode of separating the two was to have a guest/partner involved in the show that was "gifted" Willard the Wizard had his daughter Francis that could commune with spirits... (who would later team-up with Glen Falkenstein and become Mike Ammar's mother's in law...) There are several magicians that have taken this route as well as young wannabe mentalists that have teamed up with established act, creating a two-person feature such as the cabinet or popular telepathy type bits.

    HERE'S THE PROBLEM: People come to see magic shows knowing that it's all tricks and silliness; it's an agreement between performer and audience and all is well. Mentalism on the other hand relies on belief by the laity in order to deliver optimum impact to the performer; the psychological nuances and foundations are in direct opposition to one another. The very instant you put too much magic into a Mentalism program or show off too much dexterity, the mentalism side of things will no longer have that investment of belief going for it, it will be seen as a trick... possibly a very realistic trick but a trick nonetheless. This is the same logic you'll find tied to the playing card argument. I'm not anti-playing card in mentalism though I strongly encourage people to find an alternative type of card to use while incorporating the same general effect & techniques; photos, post cards, etc. and where possible, using only an imaginary deck of cards.... get the people to VISUALIZE vs. touch and physically see the paste-boards.

    UNDERSTAND... when I say that Mentalism must be believable I am not saying that you must take on the role of clairvoyant or seer; Kreskin is one of many that took a college professor type persona and made it work where Robert Nelson and many of his day choose to blatantly call themselves Mediums, Clairvoyant, Telepathists, etc. this was how it worked in those days and even Mr. Houdini understood such during the days he hosted guest mediums in his tours. But there is an curious logic to this mode of things (which the award winning Evansons still exploit) -- the fact that you are an ENTERTAINER working clubs, casinos, fairs, festivals and theaters should, for the average human being, more more than enough of a disclaimer -- evidence that you're probably cheating and yet, we're going to allow you the DIGNITY of deciding what you think rather than put words into your own mind; again, Mentalists depend on being able to solicit belief and an investment of belief (self) from their public.

    Look at Hypnotism. . . if you don't CONvince folks to do what you want them to do, THEY WONT! You are psychologically, via voice, words and your own body language, leading them to believe that they are hypnotized... THAT'S IT! So why wouldn't you want to do this for the benefit of both, yourself and your audience?

    YES, there are certain aspects of Mentalism that can be blended with magic, such as a Memory Act, the Human Calculator and obviously Hypnotism/Suggestion. I've used every one of these in School Shows to excite kids to learn because of how Math (one of my worse subject in school) can be Magical and empowering. . . same with memory cultivation and so forth. In other words, look at the genre, for lack of a better term -- the kind of mentalism type material you want to do IF you want to do both; find a way that allows the two (and yourself) the utmost advantage (psychologically) and "supports" both, one another as well as "the message" you want your audience to walk away with -- how they view you, what you do or, as in my previous suggestion, how the act can inspire them to take action in their lives.

    Hope I've made some sense.
  12. That's hilarious!

    I'm not saying that to be a jerk, it's just the visual I got when I read this.

    For reasons explained above, I don't think this a wise or practical thing unless one were doing a parody of some kind.
  13. Mr. Browning, git your mind out of the gutter. *huffs in his pockadotted dress, ruler in hand and smacking against the palm of his hand.*

    But I am in agreement that you should really go completely mentalism, or completely magic related. It is really the only way to get your audience to believe you got some strange ability or that you are a magician that does strange things that are inexplainable.
  14. If you have acess to some of Bob Cassidy's matieral he has a lot of helpful stuff on this topic.

    A charming cheat
  15. there is a easy way to answer all of this.
    why combine the two?
    I have done slight of hand with mentalism, billets are sometimes a kind of slight of hand (even if i have not done billets myself)
    you should never do something for the sake of it or because it is hard to do. the show should always come first then the show. having a clothes change for the 2 parts of the show takes away the prestige of a magician and mentalist. it makes all you do just tricks. not slight of hand, magic or power of the mind. to the people watching you are doing the same thing but then claiming to be doing something else, that you are not being real as you are playing the part of two different things.

    the clothes change is the worst thing you could do. it would be better to mix the two, but then again it is how u mix the two.

    please excuse me if my spelling is bad (well worse than normal) i have had no sleep. also if i am rambling.

    i will sum it up if all i said was rubbish. it is not the mechanics of the performance, they dont matter there is many slights and methods to get to the same result. its the result you should be thinking of first
  16. it is not fair to call magic that. i know that many people do just that but there was a time when magic wasnt
  17. just a quick note...when I say clothes change...I mean a normal clothes change...not a magical change...during the interlude...
  18. I think if you're going to mix the two, it should be 90% or more mentalism. It's true many very successful mentalists do mix the two, but not in a 50/50 manner. It's like what everyone else said, you do too much magic then it's a small leap from "There was a prediction hanging in that box the whole show, how could he have known beforehand?" to "Well he did make those cards disappear from the deck into that person's shoe so maybe he placed the prediction in the box with sleight of hand" (and even if that's not what you did, they'll still think they found the solution). I guess it comes down to what magic effects you do. Perhaps if you do magic effects, just do two - one as an opener and one as an "encore". Just some thoughts.

    But who knows, maybe you'll find the right balance to successfully do full sets of both and I wish you luck!

    And I totally agree that if you do a clothes change, it should just be a normal one. Perhaps a five/fifteen minute interlude may be enough to get their minds out of magic mode and in your opening patter for the mentalism, your mood can get them into mentalism mode.
  19. i know what you meant about a clothes change

    Firstly, I must ask that you show me when, where and how (other than a sweat lodge or shamanic ritual). My mentor was Kirk Kirkham, a man that owned most of the equipment featured in the Thurston, Dante, Blackstone and a few other shows of the Golden Era as well as before and since. I can assure you that most of the hand-props and routines were designed for livity as well as mystery -- FUN!

    Yes, there were & are acts that were more "artsy" I can think of a few dozen that are working right now, but even they tend to have bits in them that force folks to chuckle. Too, such acts are RARELY the only style that performer will work from, such acts simply aren't in high commercial demand even though producers of Revue shows love them as a "filler" piece. . . which, by the way, is the only position 95% of all magic acts tend to work when it comes to the Vegas-like environment. Headline shows rarely happen and most are produced by the performer's own production company, what's called a "4-Wall". I can assure you when you're putting up the cash to put such shows together, you will make certain your show is theatrically stimulating but certainly not filled with mystical dreams. . . not even a successful Mentalism show does that. Even Larry Becker jokes about how most of his material is "Mental Magic" rather than Mentalism. And why not? It's the more commercial way to go.

    I've been doing magic since 1964 and doing shows since 1966 so I have a funny suspicion that I know a little bit about what's been done and how its pulled together, don't you think?

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