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The experience of mentalism

Nov 7, 2008
295
0
Hofstra Univ.
As noted in my other thread I recently attended a Kostya lecture. He touched on a different experience of mentalism that I haven't really seen before.

Usually when i think of mentalism i think of reading minds, actions, or contents of something. Basically the powers of the mentalist on display for all to experience.

Kostya brought up the idea of mentalism happening to both the performer and spectator. You are equals, experiencing the ride.

I personally, like the idea of both experiencing it because it avoids the conversation of having powers or not.

I don't presume to be any kind of expert or even a performing mentalist, but I'm curious what thoughts everyone had on this idea and how do you present mentalism?
 
As noted in my other thread I recently attended a Kostya lecture. He touched on a different experience of mentalism that I haven't really seen before.

Usually when i think of mentalism i think of reading minds, actions, or contents of something. Basically the powers of the mentalist on display for all to experience.

Kostya brought up the idea of mentalism happening to both the performer and spectator. You are equals, experiencing the ride.

I personally, like the idea of both experiencing it because it avoids the conversation of having powers or not.

I don't presume to be any kind of expert or even a performing mentalist, but I'm curious what thoughts everyone had on this idea and how do you present mentalism?

probably a more advance concept than most here are ready for. if the only reason you are taking that concept is to avoid the special powers subject then you are missing the point.

the point is that you have the power but the experience is dynamic. you never know what will happen so your just as curious as your audience. NOT that you dont have any powers or provide any reason for you to be on stage. your not a clueless dolt. your a performer.
 
Nov 20, 2007
4,410
6
Sydney, Australia
I think one of the key skills a mentalist must have (magicians must have this skill too, but it's more important in my opinion for mentalists) is observation. It's too easy to walk to a spectator, present a card trick, and talk to your deck. In other words - you may talk to your spectator, but you're not talking with your spectator.

A certain amount of what I perform is not surefire. Actually, a significant part is. What that means is that there's always something of a rollercoaster for me whenever I perform - I don't know whether the effect is going to succeed until the spectator does. I guess in that sense, both experience the ride. At least, that's how I interpreted your question.

I don't think this in itself will rid the problem of having powers or not - sometimes, honestly, it just happens.

But performance of mentalism should always be congruent with your persona. That's the key thing here. How you perform, and what you perform, should be dictated by your persona. Myself, I perform mentalism with a psychological perspective. Everything I explain about psychology is true - true people, true phenomena, true experiments, true theories, etc. It works for me because it fits me - I do in fact study psychology, and it's what drew me to mentalism.
 
Jan 1, 2009
2,241
3
Back in Time
This is why I like Billet Work and things with impression devices. It opens you up to more than just "You thought of the ace of clubs." stuff. It also gives you away of connecting with your audience.
 
I have a similar approach to praetoritevong and sticking to it is very important.

Anyway, back on topic. Does it really matter what you experience through your mentalism? No, not really at least, since you are doing this for the enjoyment and entertainment of the spectator not you. I am certainly not saying you can't do it, but if you are doing this for the simple reason of getting the rollercoaster ride then perhaps it's time to relearn what being a magician/mentalist is about.

I have actually bombed effects on purpose just to further what I am doing as real. The effects weren't major ones, didn't kill a whole lot of time but it got the point across that when I get every piece of the prediction, or w/e the effect is that it is a true piece of work.
 
Nov 7, 2008
295
0
Hofstra Univ.
As more and more people posted and re reading my OP I think i may have been vague.

Let me see if i can't clear it up.

What I meant in my presentation style is that of course i'm controlling the experience and the performer but I use phrases like "I want to you to try to guess what my favorite city is." Sometimes I will purposely get it wrong but get it close. If they say athens i'll have written down sparta. This way presents more of strange coincidence and it was only a bit off.

Does that explain it at all?? Sorry for the confusion and thanks for taking the time out to reply.
 
Mar 6, 2008
1,483
3
A Land Down Under
I think I get what you mean, but there is so much more than simply getting close to an answer to build believability. This is the hardest thing for magicians to really understand and put it the work to achieve the effect. The best way to really learn this is to watch some of the best mentalist work. However, do not steal their act but take some of the things that you like and help them develop your character. Whilst I could show you guys any performance of Derren I feel that we have all seen enough of him and you should learn from a few others. A true master working.

Whilst there is nothing too new in effect or in methodology in this effect there is a wealth of information that we can take away from it. In this piece Max gets everything right, whilst at the same making it appear to be difficult. I am a huge believer in missing at certain points to increase the belief that you are doing the 'real' thing. Max knows every card that the first spectator is holding however he creates a 'process' that the audience can see and let them in on how he is doing it. We all know that the hesitation had nothing to do with the cards she was holding. She may not have hesitated but because of the conviction of which Maven stated the audience will come to one of two situations. The first being that they believe they saw it too and the second is that they did not see it however, they may have missed it as they were not looking for it. (I know that he had his back to the lady but I believe he was doing a remote viewing piece.)

There are 100s of subtle points in this 10 minute video that help build Max's believability as a mentalist and I am not going to list them all. The point I am trying to put forward is that you need to make mentalism real for your audience. One more thing is look how much work that Max puts into describing the horse, he holds their attention for minutes with nothing more than describing a drawing that took all of 30 seconds to do.

The point that I think Koysta was try to make is that mentalism has to be performed with the audience. Prae mentioned it too how many times have anyone reading this post run through an ACR, and feel empty as a performer at the end. I know that the ACR is a classic for a reason but there isn't really any connection it gets performed at the the audience is amazed but the effect however they just take it at face value. I know that you have them select and sign the card however how much are they really involved in the effect. Whereas any good mentalist will give the audience as much control as possible without taking away with the overall control said effect.

If you want to learn how to present mentalism there are a lot of knowledgeable cats on these boards who are quite helpful (except that D ICE R guy but that's an other story). But if you want to take the ideas of involving your spectators more all you really need to do is use a short card and learn a few good passes then your ACR can be really devastating.
 
Nov 7, 2008
295
0
Hofstra Univ.
Really great stuff here and with each post i'm learning more and more. I only come back with more questions though, not to refute but to learn.

My original post was asking how do you present your routine? You may have answered it and i'm not necessarily getting it. Are you saying there is a narrow spectrum of way to present mentalism? Maybe much more narrower than a card trick?

When Dice R brought up the part about displaying the process it brought to mind Steve Cohen's card calling. How he methodically has written his patter to verbally display his brain's process of reading their mind. Also, I read somewhere about Alan Alan and how he was constantly tweaking his act and refining his display of this process. Something as small as dropping the chalk or writing utensil playing a huge part.
 
I think I get what you mean, but there is so much more than simply getting close to an answer to build believability. This is the hardest thing for magicians to really understand and put it the work to achieve the effect. The best way to really learn this is to watch some of the best mentalist work. However, do not steal their act but take some of the things that you like and help them develop your character. Whilst I could show you guys any performance of Derren I feel that we have all seen enough of him and you should learn from a few others. A true master working.

Whilst there is nothing too new in effect or in methodology in this effect there is a wealth of information that we can take away from it. In this piece Max gets everything right, whilst at the same making it appear to be difficult. I am a huge believer in missing at certain points to increase the belief that you are doing the 'real' thing. Max knows every card that the first spectator is holding however he creates a 'process' that the audience can see and let them in on how he is doing it. We all know that the hesitation had nothing to do with the cards she was holding. She may not have hesitated but because of the conviction of which Maven stated the audience will come to one of two situations. The first being that they believe they saw it too and the second is that they did not see it however, they may have missed it as they were not looking for it. (I know that he had his back to the lady but I believe he was doing a remote viewing piece.)......

Derren can make me drop my jaw and astonish me in many ways but Max entertains me, he makes me shiver of realism and most important of all he makes me want more.

Mikk
 
Really great stuff here and with each post i'm learning more and more. I only come back with more questions though, not to refute but to learn.

My original post was asking how do you present your routine? You may have answered it and i'm not necessarily getting it. Are you saying there is a narrow spectrum of way to present mentalism? Maybe much more narrower than a card trick?

When Dice R brought up the part about displaying the process it brought to mind Steve Cohen's card calling. How he methodically has written his patter to verbally display his brain's process of reading their mind. Also, I read somewhere about Alan Alan and how he was constantly tweaking his act and refining his display of this process. Something as small as dropping the chalk or writing utensil playing a huge part.

Its all in the details....
Character/Props and theatrics make it work.

And no mentalism is presented so many ways that i could stay up the whole night and count them up. Its madness, but at the same time they all follow the same idea. You have to send across the idea that what you are doing might not be real, it might not even be doable in real life but its what they believe is what is important. If they believe you cannot fail. But getting there requires massive amounts of work. A good qoute about the subject is that: "Believe in nothing you hear and only half of what you see...", and this is in my mind one of the foundations of current thinking. If you can make them believe everything you say and everything you show you are controlling them to dance along your wishes.


Mikk
 
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